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Asylum statistics are no cause for celebration

Jim Jepps


According to government figures released today the number of people applying for asylum in this country has fallen dramatically. However, the refugee council has issued a statement of real concern about this development.

 
 Margaret Lally, Deputy  Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
 
"The government claims to be offering a safe haven to people fleeing persecution.  It is therefore extremely worrying that the number of people offered sanctuary here in the UK has fallen so dramatically when we are seeing widespread repression and conflict in many parts of the world.
 


 "For some nationals almost half of all appeals are successful.  Forty-four per cent of Somali nationals who appealed had their initial decision overturned, as did 40% of Sudanese nationals, 42% of Eritreans and 30% of Russians¹.  This is wholly unacceptable - an overhaul of the initial decision-making process is clearly long overdue, if only to avoid telling people who are genuinely fleeing for their lives this country will not offer them the help and protection they so desperately need.
 


 "The numbers debate is a tired one.  A dramatic fall in asylum applications to the UK cannot be celebrated if the world has not become a significantly safer place.
 


 "The government must concentrate on ensuring people whose lives are in danger can get to the UK and are protected here.  It must also address the reasons people are forced to leave their homes and take a more enlightened look at what the UK can do globally to make the world a safer place."
 

This announcement comes hot on the heels of the Tories making an attack on 'human rights' cases. They say that liberal attitudes to human rights means that the government cannot deport as many asylum seekers as they would like. Tough. The border controls have been systematically used to divide ordinary people from different countries from each other and has led to untold misery for those who have been forced to flee to this country in search of sanctuary.

 

Whilst of course it comes as no surprise that the Tories are in favour of attacking the most vulnerable in society it is a grand betrayal of the Labour movement that this government has continued the trend of victimise the victims and the cold welcome of detention centres, legal process and poverty.
 

August 2004

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Home Office hails asylum fall
In the Guardian
 
Human rights- the case for the defence
In the Independent

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