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UK: Letter to House of Lords denounces 'racist and xenophobic' Immigration Bill

© Amnesty International

Second reading of Immigration Bill set to take place tomorrow

Highly controversial bill will deprive people of right to seek asylum in the UK

‘The Lords should reject this squalid bill and speak up for all those horrified by this Government’s cruel asylum policies’ - Sacha Deshmukh

Ahead of the second reading of the Immigration Bill tomorrow (10 May), Amnesty International UK has written to members of the House of Lords urging them to reject the bill which is denounced as “racist and xenophobic”.

In the letter, Amnesty UK’s Chief Executive Sacha Deshmukh says that if passed the bill is likely to cause serious harm to refugees and victims of human trafficking, while also stripping British people of their right to British citizenship. The bill, says Deshmukh, will set a very dangerous example internationally and undermine the rights of refugees around the world. The focus of fixing the asylum system should be on creating a positive and human rights respecting immigration system and be “prepared to respond” to all international emergencies.

Deshmukh says the bill is a “blatant breach” of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights which the UK played an important part in originally creating.

Amnesty is strongly urging the Government to drop the Immigration Bill, to establish safe asylum routes for people fleeing places like Sudan, and to ensure that reforms to the asylum processing system are made as soon as possible.

Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, said:

“The Lords should reject this disastrously damaging bill, which, among other things, is at its heart racist and xenophobic.

“Despite its numerous failings, the schemes for Ukrainian refugees show that the Government is prepared to respond to some international emergencies but not others.

“If the door can be opened for many Ukrainians, why is it being shut to Sudanese and other refugees? If British residents can be permitted to provide safety to their Ukrainian families, why are they prevented from doing this for their Sudanese families?

“A recent string of divisive comments from ministers about the ‘values’ of migrants suggests that the Government is now pursuing a more or less open agenda based on xenophobia and prejudice.

“The Lords should reject this squalid bill and speak up for all those horrified by this Government’s cruel asylum policies.”

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