Scottish Refugee Council, along with over 75 charities, belief groups and community organisations in Scotland, has written to the Prime Minister and Minister for the Union Boris Johnson, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack to oppose the UK Government’s New Plan for Immigration.
The New Plan for Immigration, which was announced by the Home Secretary in March, poses a fundamental threat to the principles underpinning the right to seek asylum in the UK. The proposals also threaten the UK’s compliance with the UN Refugee Convention, currently in its 70th anniversary year.
The New Plan includes a proposal to link the right to seek asylum to the way in which people have travelled to reach the UK. Charities are alarmed that this would take away the right to claim asylum from people who arrive in the UK independently after life-or-death decisions and often dangerous journeys. This includes the majority of people fleeing terror, war and persecution.
The plan also includes proposals to house people in temporary reception centres across the UK.
Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council said: “These proposals are a direct threat to the very principle of providing asylum, and put plainly, are the biggest threat to refugee rights in the UK that we have seen for decades.
“The plans fundamentally misunderstand the life or death nature of seeking asylum, and have been drafted without any input from people with experience of the asylum system.
“The fact is that for the vast majority of people seeking protection, doing so through an organised and official route is simply impossible. There is no illegal route to seek asylum, and the UK Government is perfectly aware of this.
“The use of temporary reception centres is also a serious concern. We have seen so many examples of unacceptable conditions in these types of places, such as the army barracks being used in England and hotel rooms across the UK. We believe everyone has the right to a home, a house or a flat, within a community, not separate and distanced and behind barbed wire fences.
“Many of these proposals directly intrude on the devolved competences of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government, such as the Scottish legal system, anti-trafficking legislation and age assessment process. The consultation period for these proposals runs at exactly the same time as the Scottish elections, meaning many Scottish authorities have been unable to respond.”
The full letter, and a list of signatories, can be found below.Letter to the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Scotland on the New Immigration Plan digital