Government makes U-turn on asylum policy - Refugee Council
June 17, 2003

Government makes U-turn on asylum policy

In response to the Government’s announcement that it is no longer considering processing asylum claimants in ‘transit camps’ outside or on the borders of the EU, the Refugee Council’s acting Chief Executive, Margaret Lally said:

“Once again, the Government seems to have made a U-turn on its asylum policy. These constant changes of policy just serve to undermine public confidence in the system. This time it appears to be rowing back from the ‘transit camps’ proposals because of the fierce opposition from NGOs, and lack of support from its European partners on the legal, practical and cost difficulties.

“Unfortunately, our experience is that governments have the habit of slipping ideas, they have allegedly dismissed, through the back door.

“The result is a muddle – leaving many unanswered questions. There remain proposals to establish ‘regional protection zones’ near refugee-producing countries, and possibly camps within the EU. We urgently seek clarification from the Government on how and where asylum seekers to the UK will have their applications assessed? And, most importantly, whether the UK will guarantee that the asylum decision-making process meets international and European legal standards, and ensures that all those in need of protection receive it?”

Ref: 49/03

In response to the Government’s announcement that it is no longer considering processing asylum claimants in ‘transit camps’ outside or on the borders of the EU, the Refugee Council’s acting Chief Executive, Margaret Lally said:

“Once again, the Government seems to have made a U-turn on its asylum policy. These constant changes of policy just serve to undermine public confidence in the system. This time it appears to be rowing back from the ‘transit camps’ proposals because of the fierce opposition from NGOs, and lack of support from its European partners on the legal, practical and cost difficulties.

“Unfortunately, our experience is that governments have the habit of slipping ideas, they have allegedly dismissed, through the back door.

“The result is a muddle – leaving many unanswered questions. There remain proposals to establish ‘regional protection zones’ near refugee-producing countries, and possibly camps within the EU. We urgently seek clarification from the Government on how and where asylum seekers to the UK will have their applications assessed? And, most importantly, whether the UK will guarantee that the asylum decision-making process meets international and European legal standards, and ensures that all those in need of protection receive it?”

Ends

Further information

On Wednesday 18th June, the Refugee Council launches its report, Unsafe Havens, Unworkable Solutions, criticising new UK plans to process all asylum seekers outside the EU, at the House of Commons. Find out more.

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