JRS UK has renewed its calls for a just and humane asylum system, and for the Nationality and Borders Bill to be abandoned, ahead of the Bill’s return to the House of Commons on 20th April. In its current form, the Bill would create huge fresh barriers for refugees seeking sanctuary in the UK. The Bill has widely been dubbed the “Anti-Refugee Bill” by those campaigning for refugee rights.
“In this Anti-Refugee Bill, our society is on the brink of a truly horrendous decision, to abandon its duty to those in need, to legislate for deep and layered cruelty. But, next week, MPs will still have a further opportunity to turn back. Those in flight for their lives move however they can. To punish refugees for how they travel is malicious and incoherent. We must change course.”
Sophie Cartwright, JRS UK’s Senior Policy Officer
At the heart of the Bill is “differential treatment of refugees”, which penalises refugees for travelling via a third country or informally, and is bolstered by several other measures to punish refugees for arriving in the UK without prior authorisation. Differential treatment has been widely excoriated for contravening the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Bill would also create powers for ‘offshoring’ of asylum claims – for forcibly removing people without considering their claim for protection, and arranging for it to be processed elsewhere, possibly in the context of detention. This praxis has led to severe human rights abuses in other contexts where it occurs. Connectedly, the Bill would shore up the government’s new rules on ruling asylum claims inadmissible, and forcibly and permanently removing claimants to any other country that will take them.
The Bill has already been through initial consideration in both the Commons and the Lords, and last month MPs rejected a number of amendments suggested by peers which had the potential to significantly improve the Bill.
Join us to oppose the Nationality and Borders Bill today, and call on your MP to agree to the amendments laid down in the Lords.