Government policy “tries to starve people out of the country” - Refugee Council
March 22, 2007

Government policy “tries to starve people out of the country”

Experts from across the asylum field have come together in Yorkshire today March at a conference outlining the latest developments in asylum legislation.

The conference heard concerns about the implementation of the Home Office’s ‘New Asylum Model’ and that Government policy on old asylum cases “tries to starve people out of the country”. A legal expert also warned against the Government tendency to give itself powers that “extend far beyond the scope of any identified need”

Nancy Kelley, Refugee Council Head of Policy said,

“We now have a system that tries to starve people out of the country, that turns terminally ill patients away from the hospital door and that presents the UK’s closing borders as a sign of success, whatever atrocities lie beyond them. We have a system where asylum seekers whose claims are refused are seen as less than human, as people without rights. “

“The real measure of our commitment to human rights is not our political rhetoric, but the way in which we treat those who are most vulnerable. It’s essential that we continue to fight for a system that respects the human rights and needs of refugees and asylum seekers, including those whose claims have been refused.”

Speaking about the New Asylum Model, she said

“So far there has been too much emphasis on speeding up decision making. To date, there has been little evidence of any improvement in the quality of decision under the New Asylum Model, which means just as many decisions will be overturned on appeal than under the old system. We’re still very concerned that the ‘culture of disbelief’ is still prevalent, so people’s cases are not given a fair hearing.”

Steve Symonds, legal officer with the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association said,

“The habit of Government to legislate itself powers that extend far beyond the scope of any identified need is emphatically repeated in the UK Borders Bill. It is a habit that all right-thinking people should deprecate. And it is no justification or comfort that here the target for these powers will be asylum-seekers, refugees and other immigrants.”

The conference will also be addressed by Chris Hudson, Regional Director of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate.


Notes to editor

  1. The conference took place on Thursday 22 March at Venue: The Royal York Hotel, Station Road, York, N Yorkshire YO24 1AA, from 9.30 am to 5.30pm
  2. Authoritative, comprehensive and inspiring, The Refugee Council’s conferences are renowned as a one-stop shop for the latest discussion on the ever-changing issue of asylum policy and legislation. Aimed at journalists, government, the police and professionals in the legal, health, social services and community sectors, the conferences raise topics and demand answers on imperative questions. See: further information on the conference
  3. The conference has been organised by The Refugee Council in association with the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA)