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Queen's Speech: EU citizens' "year of uncertainty" needs to end

Responding to announcements in today’s Queen’s Speech that the Government’s EU Repeal Bill would “maximise legal certainty for individuals” while a new bill dealing with domestic violence would be introduced, Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“EU citizens and their family members living in the UK have just been put through a year of uncertainty, anxious about whether the UK would still be a welcoming place and even whether they could lawfully remain.  

“The uncertainty needs to end - EU citizens urgently need guarantees over their future residence and rights.

“As well as ending the limbo in which EU citizens in the UK currently find themselves in, we need reforms to complex and frankly hostile immigration laws. 

“The immigration system treats migrants and their families, including British citizens, with hostility rather than sympathy - frequently leaving people unable to access support and protection services, including ones on domestic violence. 

“We welcome the announcement of a new bill to counter the widespread scourge of domestic violence, but it will be vital that this includes secure funding for life-saving services, as we well as guarantees that all women at risk of gender-based violence in this country are able to properly access them, especially the most marginalised: migrants, refugees and the survivors of trafficking and modern slavery”. 

“We’re also calling upon the Government to ratify the Istanbul Convention without delay.”

The Istanbul Convention is a European treaty specifically targeting violence against women and domestic violence which the UK has signed but is yet to formally ratify. Countries ratifying the convention are obligated to apply minimum standards on prevention, protection, prosecution and the development of integrated policies to protect and support victims of such violence, including ensuring provision of specialised services and the development of gender-sensitive asylum systems.

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