Margaret Lally, acting Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We very much welcome this report from this influential committee, which we believe to be one of the most compelling contributions to the asylum debate in recent years.
“We agree that the overall integrity of the asylum process relies on the ability ultimately to remove those found not to be in need of protection. However, as this report recognises, integrity is not achieved simply by removing people.
“The Government must ensure standards of international law are upheld, that asylum seekers are given adequate access to legal representation, and the opportunity exists to challenge decisions. As noted in the report, improving the quality of initial decision-making and ensuring asylum seekers are treated to a fair hearing would increase the efficiency of the whole process and is an essential pre-requisite for a properly functioning removals process.
“We urge the Government to take note of the report’s proposed measures to increase awareness and access to voluntary returns programmes. A process where people return willingly, and with some assistance, will be more cost-effective and will lead to more durable solutions.
“We are particularly encouraged by the committee’s approach to the treatment of asylum seekers as human beings, not numbers, and that this is reflected in the recommendations listed in the report.
“We look forward to the Government implementing the Committee’s recommendations without delay.”
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Read the Home Office’s statement on the report
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