In response to the immigration and asylum statistics published by the Home Office today, Judith Dennis, Advocacy Officer at the Refugee Council said:
“Although numbers of asylum applications remain low, the increase in applications from Libyan and Syrian people this year shows how suddenly events happening around the world can force people to flee to safety in countries like the UK. It is therefore imperative we have a robust and effective system in place to ensure these people can get protection here if they are at risk in their own country. This includes access to legal support and advice services for asylum seekers – both of which have faced massive cuts this year.
“Our other key concern is children – 30 children were detained just in the last three months, despite a government pledge to end the abhorrent practice. This comes on the day when reports that the UK government will start returning children to Afghanistan next year have been made. They would never treat British children like this, so it is unacceptable that the government is disregarding the welfare of children who have fled violent and dangerous countries to seek safety here.”
Asylum applications from Libyan nationals in the period January to September 2011: 672 applications compared to 62 between January and September 2010, although numbers of applications have started to fall back.
Applications from nationals of Syria: 129 applications in the third quarter of 2011 compared to 28 in the third quarter of 2010.