In response to the publication today of the asylum statistics for the first quarter of 2005, Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The overall picture from today’s figures is of a system that refuses the vast majority of asylum claims, that appeal success rates remain high, that large numbers of asylum seekers are detained, some for months or even more than a year, that the top ten countries of origin for asylum applicants are all either experiencing serious and bloody conflicts or have long histories of human rights abuse. They also show that numbers continue to fall, largely as a result of measures put in place to prevent refugees from getting here.
“Isn’t it time we devised a system that ensured refugees who needed protection were able to access it, that the right decisions were made first time, that those who didn’t need protection were removed humanely and with dignity, and those that did were helped to integrate, that asylum seekers were allowed to work and did not need to rely on state handouts, and that detention was used only in the most exceptional circumstances and children were never detained?
“The measure of a good asylum system is not in the numbers it turns away but in its ability to identify refugees who need protection and give to them.”
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