United Kingdom: Asylum - Dismay at ill-founded remarks on refugee protection and detention

Today's Conservative Party proposal that all asylum-seekers be detained and 'vetted' and its announcement that a future Conservative government would consider withdrawing from international human rights treaties, comes just two days after worrying remarks from the Prime Minister.

On 26 January Mr Blair raised the possibility of the UK reviewing its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, particularly in respect of a provision forbidding torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Stephen Bowen said:

'We are dismayed at the knee-jerk nature of recent political comments on asylum in the UK.

'Instead of making comments and issuing policy proposals that risk undermining international human rights standards and protection for some of the world's most vulnerable people, Tony Blair and Iain Duncan Smith should be reinforcing the key message that asylum-seekers deserve fair, properly thought-out measures.

'It is a fundamental principle that no-one facing the risk of torture should be deported back to that perilous situation. Mr Blair is thinking the unthinkable: that this country would send people back to the torture chamber.'

Conservative Party proposals over detention were also criticised by Amnesty International.

Stephen Bowen said:

'Detaining often traumatised asylum-seekers would be a heartless,inhumane and possibly illegal action that should be rejected. The Conservative Party should abandon this ill-thought-out proposal.'

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