UK Asylum Bill: a lack of humility prevails

The Courier's Head of Culture lambasts recent Tory proposals concerning asylum seekers

Carly Horne
21st March 2023
On the 7th March 2023, The UK Government introduced the asylum bill into the House of Commons - legislation set to deny those who arrive in the UK irregularly, often fleeing the worst of conditions, entry into the UK. Instead of being met with what little compassion we had left, asylum seekers are proposed to be detained under new legislation.

Despite war and persecution being rampant in the last few years, many of us in the UK would struggle to truly comprehend the realities of fleeing life in a place you call home. We have all seen the devastation caused when journeys in small boats end in tragedy, and we all want to prevent the unnecessary deaths caused by such a risky mode of transport - however the UK Government's means of tackling the issue seems more geared towards depriving refugees of their rights than protecting them.

It seems the Government's motivations may have less to do with compassionate conservatism and more to do with racial motivations.

For people desperate for safety, there may be no other choice than to enter into the country in this way - and this should be no determinant of a human being's deservedness of being granted asylum.

Enver Solomen, CEO of Refugee Council said, "The government’s new legislation ignores the fundamental point that most of the people in small boats are men, women and children escaping terror and bloodshed from countries including Afghanistan, Iran and Syria."

The channel isn't the only dangerous journey being undertaken by those fleeing their home country, and those taking other journeys are no less vulnerable or worthy of support. However, under the asylum bill, such persons entering the UK irregularly would be detained and denied many of the rights afforded by the Refugee Convention.

This news comes in the aftermath of the announcement of a scheme which would see those seeking asylum, but who had been deemed to have entered into the UK illegally, deported to Rwanda while their claims were processed. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom deemed the scheme lawful in December 2022, despite significant concerns from campaign groups and action by the European Court of Human Rights.

These measures are inline with the Conservative party's stance on controlling exactly who can enter the UK, but have been met with mixed responses from the public and experts alike. While some party members have agreed with the measures, many experts believe the UK is turning its back on vulnerable people existing laws aim to protect.

The current focus on those entering the country irregularly by small boats, may hope to deter people from making such as crossing, but in lieu of this method of entry, those seeking asylum could fall through the cracks. Without formal documentation, already vulnerable people are exposed to increased risk of modern-day slavery and sex-trafficking, says Zoe Gardner, an expert on refugees and migration.

Without formal documentation, already vulnerable people are exposed to increased risk of modern-day slavery and sex-trafficking

What has become clear in recent legislation is that Government action does not come from prioritising the safety of those seeking stability in the UK. While increased small boat-crossings are a very real concern, in light of the danger posed by these crossings, it seems the Government's motivations may have less to do with compassionate conservatism and more to do with racial motivations.

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