The Prime Minister Tony Blair today made a speech to the Confederation of British Industry. In response, Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The Prime Minister is right to say that without reliable information and facts the public will be denied a genuine debate on migration. But the same applies to the asylum debate.
“A balanced approach to immigration and asylum must uphold the right to asylum in the same way as it recognises the benefits of migration. Punishing asylum seekers must not be the means to gain public confidence in, and support for, a system of managed migration.
“Public fears are often based not on fact but on ignorance or prejudice. For example, a MORI poll in 2002 showed that the public believes Britain takes 23% of the world’s refugees – the reality is that we take about 2%.
“In the absence of a balanced debate on asylum, the trumpeting of increasingly tough measures only serves to increase unfounded fears that the system is out of control.
“The Prime Minister is making a commendable effort to challenge the myths surrounding migration – now he must do the same with asylum. The UK must maintain its responsibility to provide protection from persecution to those who need it.”
Read the Prime Minister’s speech on the 10 Downing Street website, http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page5708.asp
CBI website, http://www.cbi.org.uk/home.html
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