Today (Wednesday 2 January 2019) Home Secretary Sajid Javid made several comments in connection to the recent arrivals to the UK of people crossing the channel by boat.
As has been reported in several news outlets including the Guardian, Javid questioned whether migrants using boats to cross the Channel are people with genuine asylum claims, and also seemed to suggest that people seeking asylum ought to be be deterred from making the crossing by making it harder to gain asylum.
In response to these comments, Dr Lisa Doyle, Director of Advocacy at the Refugee Council, said: “The comments made by the Home Secretary today are deeply concerning. The outcome of an asylum application cannot be pre-judged before it has been made and must be processed on its individual merit, irrespective of how that person reached the country. Let us not forget that we are talking about people who are in desperate need of protection, having fled countries with prolific human rights abuses. What is more, we are hearing time and again that the conditions in France do not make people feel safe, with migrant camps being razed from the ground and people experiencing violence from the authorities. It’s a shame that the Home Secretary seems to need reminding that seeking asylum is a right and the UK has an obligation to assess claims fairly and grant protection to those who need it. “