In response to the Home Office’s immigration and asylum statistics published today (25 August) Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“It is significant that there has been a marked increase in people from Libya and Bahrain applying for asylum here, clearly showing the impact that unexpected crises around the world can have on our asylum system in the UK. Yet the cuts in funding to asylum support services across the country will mean that charities will struggle to provide the support these people need – we cannot allow them to end up homeless and hungry when they are in need of a place of safety. Our government has made a commitment to protecting people seeking safety here, and therefore must be prepared to help people fleeing oppressive regimes like the Gaddafi regime in Libya.
“Now that the asylum backlog has been finally dealt with, the government has a real chance to make the asylum system as accessible, fair and effective as possible to ensure those in need of protection can get it. These statistics again show that more than a quarter of people who appeal a negative decision on their asylum case have this overturned in court – too many people are still being wrongly refused in the first instance. These are life or death decisions and UK Border Agency must focus on getting decisions right first time.
“In addition, too many people are still being held in detention centres for too long – the indefinite detention of asylum seekers must end as a matter of urgency. That 18 children were held in detention in the last quarter is unacceptable, following the government’s pledge to end child detention over a year ago. We will be keeping a watchful eye on the new family detention facility opening later this month to ensure promises of a more humane, child-friendly environment are kept.”
Home Office Immigration and asylum statistics – Mar-Jun 2011