In response to asylum plans outlined by the Conservative leader Michael Howard today Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“These proposals will end the right to claim asylum in Britain. Nobody escaping torture or persecution will be able to flee to Britain and ask for our help – those that manage to make the journey here will be turned away, with the real prospect that their lives may be put in danger.
“This begs the question: what if other countries decide to do the same? What if countries across the developing world, which currently look after the great majority of the world’s refugees, decide they will follow the UK’s example and drop out of the UN Refugee Convention? At the moment, about 70% of the world’s refugees are in the poorest countries, many of them in Africa. It is surely not right that a wealthy nation such as the UK shirks its international responsibilities while expecting other, far poorer countries, to maintain theirs. In fact, it appears that these countries will be expected to take more responsibility, not less.
“One of the forgotten tragedies of the holocaust was that many of those who perished could have been saved. While some families were fortunate enough to be allowed into Britain, many others were refused. The point of the 1951 Refugee Convention was to make sure this never happened again. As we mark Holocaust Memorial Day this week, we must not forget this lesson of history.”
Further information & links
Conservative party website http://www.conservatives.com/
BBC News report, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4200761.stm
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