Law Lords rule UK immigration policy on Roma discriminatory - Refugee Council
December 9, 2004

Law Lords rule UK immigration policy on Roma discriminatory

Today the Law Lords ruled that the UK Goverment acted unlawfully in its policy of preventing Czech Roma entering the UK from the Czech Republic.

Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, said:

“We welcome this important judgement, which reveals the barriers faced by people seeking to claim asylum in the UK. Human rights abuses against the Roma in Eastern Europe are well documented, and it is hugely troubling that the Government sought to deny entry to such a vulnerable group.

“In many other countries, barriers have been put up to prevent people being able to get to the UK and access safety here. In light of today’s ruling, we call on the government to review this kind of activity and ensure that Britain remains a place of safety for refugees forced to flee their homes.”

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Links and further information

In 2001 the Czech Republic agreed that the UK could station immigration officers at Prague Airport to screen all passengers travelling to the UK. The aim was to detect people who wanted to claim asylum in the UK and prevent them from travelling. The overwhelming number of passengers who were refused permission to enter the UK under this operation were Roma, regardless of whether or not an individual Romany Czech actually intended to claim asylum in the UK. Statistics showed that Roma were 400 times more likely to be refused entry to the UK than non-Roma.

UK Parliament House of Lords website

Read coverage on BBC news online

European Roma Rights Centre http://www.errc.org

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