The UK Government’s Nationality & Borders Bill seeks to overhaul the UK’s asylum system.
Although 53 MPs from Scotland voted against the Bill, it was passed by the House of Commons in July 2021. The proposals have been condemned by charities, faith groups and community organisations across the UK.
We believe the Bill is dangerous and cruel. If pushed through it would have a devastating impact on people fleeing war, persecution and human rights abuses. As part of the Together With Refugees coalition, we’re calling for the UK Government to deliver an asylum system that is fair, effective and humane.
Here are some of the reasons we’re against the Bill and how we plan to oppose it…
In it’s current form the Bill will:
- Judge a person’s right to refugee protection according to how they arrive in the UK, not on their need or the level of danger they face
- Criminalise people who arrive in the UK by ‘unofficial routes’, which will apply to the majority of people seeking asylum
- House people seeking refugee protection in ‘reception centres’, like Napier Barracks, rather than providing accommodation within local communities
If the Bill becomes law:
- Two in every three women and children that the UK would accept as refugees today, could be turned away
- Humanitarian organisations like the RNLI could be criminalised for “assisting unlawful immigration” by rescuing people from sinking boats
- The UK Government could break international laws, set out in the UN Refugee Convention – this sets a worrying precedent for refugee rights
What happens next?
- The UK Parliament is currently in recess
- In September, the Bill will be considered by parliamentary committees – at this stage, every clause will be agreed to, changed or removed
- The Bill will then be debated in the House of Commons before a third reading – after this, MPs will decide whether or not to approve it
- If approved, it will go to the House of Lords, where it will go through further readings before being passed on to the Queen for Royal Assent
- Between now and then, we’ll be ramping up the pressure on politicians and calling for the UK Government to rewrite the Bill, making it fairer, more effective and more humane
How you can help:
- Show your support for refugees and people seeking safety by sharing an orange heart on social media ?
- We’ll be sharing more ways for you to take a stand against the Bill soon
This post was originally published on Scottish Refugee Council.