In response to a High Court ruling today that removing asylum seekers to third countries without first considering their claims is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“This judgment is very welcome. We have long been concerned for the safety of people removed from the UK on the basis that they have already passed through a country considered ‘safe’. The UK government currently considers the whole of the EU to be safe, and if someone claiming asylum is found to have travelled through another EU country they are removed to that country without having their claim considered.
“However, the asylum systems in EU countries still differ in their treatment of asylum seekers, and there remains a real risk that people who are genuinely frightened for their lives are removed to a country where their claim is not considered adequately and they are subsequently returned to face persecution or torture.
Under existing legislation the government is prevented from even considering this possibility and the Court declared today that this is not compatible with the ECHR. We urge the government to change this as soon as possible to ensure that there is no further danger that this happens to anyone seeking protection in the UK. Our primary objective must be to make sure that people who are fleeing for their lives are offered the protection the law requires.”
Notes to editor
1. The judgment can be accessed at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2007/1548.html