We are devastated this morning at the news that the Illegal Migration bill is now set to become law.
The proposed legislation saw opposition from the House of Lords and many members of Parliament. But last night in the final stages of debate, lawmakers at Westminster agreed to pass the proposals which will now become law.
The new legislation aims to shut the door on people seeking safety in the UK, by removing the right to claim asylum from those who arrive in the UK independently. In doing so, the law completely undermines the UK’s international obligations, including our agreement to uphold the UN Refugee Convention.
Our Head of Asylum and Integration Services, Wafa Shaheen, said:
“The Illegal Migration bill is the single most harmful piece of legislation we have seen in the thirty five years Scottish Refugee Council has been supporting people seeking protection. It will cause avoidable, unnecessary harm and hardship to people who need the opposite – support and shelter at a time of great trauma and stress in their lives.
“We are horrified that the UK plans to step away from international responsibility-sharing and we are deeply concerned about what this means for people’s rights under the Refugee Convention. We are seeking advice on behalf of the people we support who we will continue to stand with and along side in every way we can.”
The UN’s Refugee Agency has already called on the UK government to reverse the legislation, warning of the profound impact it will have on people’s rights and the serious, potentially life-threatening risks it will expose people to.
There are also concerns about the how the law will work in practice. Last month the government’s policy of removing people seeking protection to Rwanda was ruled unlawful, raising unanswered questions about how the new laws will actually operate.
As we assess the impact of this legislation, we stand in solidarity with everyone affected. We will continue to support people rebuilding their lives in Scotland and we will continue to stand up for the right to seek and secure international protection from violence and persecution. Please join us in this and support our work if you can.