Response to latest asylum statistics - Refugee Council
November 27, 2003

Response to latest asylum statistics

In response to the publication today of the latest quarterly asylum figures and the asylum Bill, Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“We would welcome a fall in the number of asylum applications if it reflected a decrease in worldwide oppression and human rights abuses.

“Yet many countries, including the top four countries of origin – Somalia, Iran, China and Zimbabwe, continue to have poor human rights records. The approach the Government is taking to reduce numbers, such as stringent visa requirements for countries including Zimbabwe, mean that refugees desperately in need of the protection the UK can offer may be unable to access it.

“For the Government to show real progress in tackling the failings of the system, it must improve its decision-making. Today’s figures show that one in five appeals are successful. The legal safeguards present in the system are essential to put right such a substantial number of wrong decisions. Removing those safeguards will undoubtedly endanger refugees’ lives.

“Fundamentally, what the public wants is a system that helps refugees in fear of their lives and deals effectively with those who have been fairly rejected”.