In response to new Home Office asylum and immigration figures for 2010 published today, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“Although the number of people applying for asylum has fallen over the last year, the fact remains that human rights abuses are continuing around the world, as is particularly evident in recent events in Libya. The UK government must therefore ensure that our doors remain open to all those in need of protection and a place of safety, and that we have the ability to support them once they arrive here.
“We are greatly concerned that yet again, the figures show almost a third of negative decisions on asylum cases are being overturned at appeal, meaning many people are being wrongly refused asylum here initially. We know the government is looking at improving the decision-making process for asylum cases, but they must do so as a matter of urgency to ensure that those in need of protection are not returned to countries where their lives are at risk.
“In addition, it is unacceptable that almost 10% of asylum seekers in detention centres are held there for over a year. These are people who have committed no crime, so if they must be detained, it should only be used as a last resort and for the least time possible. This year is the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention, and it is important as ever that the UK remains committed to ensuring those seeking safety in our country are properly protected. This includes people at the end of the process, who must be treated with dignity until they can be safely returned to their own countries. ”