Government should act smart, not talk tough, says leading refugee agency

30 May 2002

"Removing the right to appeal against negative asylum decisions in the UK is a dangerous and unworkable proposal," says Nick Hardwick, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council.

"Without this basic safety net against bad decisions, the whole process of asylum will be seriously undermined and compromised," he added.

At the heart of the Geneva Convention on Refugees is the principle that each case must be considered on its own merits. Last year, the House of Lords EU Scrutiny Committee, reiterated a commitment to this principle. Based on evidence from the Home Office and the Immigration Appellate Authority, they concluded that so-called fast track measures just slowed the whole process down. Good quality decisions, first time round was the best way of speeding up the process. They also stated that all cases should be dealt with speedily and efficiently, adding that it was essential that applicants remain in the country of their asylum claim while they appealed.

"The Government should concentrate on acting smart rather than talking tough," he added.

Last year between January and September, over 1,400 negative decisions were overturned just from Sri Lankan nationals during the appeals process. Getting decisions wrong is not only a waste of resources and taxpayers' money. It also plunges people who are found to be fleeing persecution into needless anguish as they wait in limbo, unsure of whether or not they will be allowed to remain in a place of safety.