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UK: PM announcement to crackdown on asylum is 'littered with errors'

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In response to the Prime Minister’s announcement today to tackle asylum, Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said:

“The Prime Minister’s statement on asylum makes clear that he either doesn’t have a clue or frankly does not care.

“Sunak speaks of fairness – yet his Government has wrecked the UK’s asylum system, doing significant harm to thousands of vulnerable people for no reason other than an attempt to avoid the responsibilities he expects other countries to take.

“Fairness means acting on our legal responsibilities, not shamelessly seeking to shirk them. It means respecting people’s rights and recognising their needs, not demonising people to excuse the cruel injustices the Government is doing to them.

“The announcement today is littered with errors of both law and fact, and if acted upon will make an already disastrous situation created by Sunak’s Government’s policies more harmful to people fleeing conflict and persecution while continuing to profit smugglers, traffickers and other abusers.

“Instead of scapegoating people seeking asylum, we urgently need the Government to completely overhaul its policy, cancel the Rwanda deal, put in place safe routes so fewer desperate people risk their lives and focus on fairly and efficiently deciding the asylum claims the UK receives.”

Errors in the PM's claims:

  • He wrongly claimed that people exercising their legitimate right to seek asylum in the UK were doing so illegally.
  • He wrongly claimed that people making legitimate claims for asylum, to which many of them are entitled, were cheating the system.
  • He wrongly claimed that people exercising these rights by the only means permitted by the UK Government were breaking the rules. However, these rules compel people to make dangerous journeys because they require people to be in the UK to claim asylum, yet refuse a visa to travel for that purpose.

These are errors of fact and law. The Prime Minister and his Government are perpetuating a profound injustice by failing to responsibly decide the asylum claims the country receives and attempting to present the people who suffer from this as in some way at fault.

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