In a Ministerial comment made in Parliament yesterday (Monday 7 January) the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, made several comments about recent cases of people crossing the Channel by boat. You can read a write up of this on Hansard here.
Responding to these comments, Dr Lisa Doyle, Director of Advocacy the Refugee Council, said: “We remain deeply worried by the comments and tone of language used by our Home Secretary. To pre-judge asylum claims by advising that people seeking asylum will not be granted protection in the UK if they have passed through France, is a blatant breach of international law.
“Claiming asylum is a right and I recommend that our Home Secretary takes another look at the 1951 Refugee Convention in which it states that neither how people arrive in the country they claim asylum in, nor how many safe countries they have passed through previously, should affect the outcome of their claim. The UK is a signatory to the Refugee Convention which is why it is very concerning that our own Home Secretary seems to be making public declarations about running roughshod all over it.
“We are talking about people who are utterly desperate, having fled war, conflict and persecution – people for whom taking a treacherous journey across the Channel is actually safer than staying where they are.”