British Refugee Council President: The government needs a more humane asylum system after the tragic deaths of the Channel
British Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon has criticized the UK’s asylum system as needing to be more humane. In an article in the Guardian newspaper, he stated:The Guardian) that there are moments when the tragic tragedy of those less fortunate than us should serve as a wake-up call to make the world a better place.
And he said that last Tuesday afternoon was one of those tragic moments when at least 27 men, women and children, who were seeking safety in Britain, died in the very cold waters of the English Channel, after they stuck themselves in a rickety and unseaworthy boat at a time they were hoping It is a journey into a new life where they can do what we all take for granted: work, make friends, and be safe from harm.
Although we do not yet know their names, ages, kinship or nationalities, we do know that they have paid large sums to smugglers, who brutally control human trafficking taking advantage of the suffering of those who have fled persecution, repression and intimidation elsewhere in the world.
Solomon dismissed the government’s claim that nearly all those arriving in small boats are economic migrants, a claim repeated by the Home Secretary on Tuesday in the House of Commons. He said the reality is different, according to an analysis published by the Refugee Council last week showing that almost all arrivals in the 18 months to last June were from 10 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea and Afghanistan, where persecution is not rare, and more than 6 in 10 People from these countries who seek asylum in Britain are granted refugee status or protection. For the top five countries, the ratio is 7 out of 10.
He noted that anyone who comes to Britain by land is immediately classified as an “illegal immigrant”, and that the new draft law on citizenship and borders is designed to create a hostile environment, including provisions for people abroad while their asylum claims are processed, and a new temporary protection status for refugees.
The movement of people in search of safety is not just a political challenge to the British government, it is a challenge faced by Europe and other Western countries. Like the climate crisis, it requires a multilateral response by working collaboratively with other countries
The logic, he added, is that the more aggressive and strict the policy, the less likely refugees are to risk their lives at the hands of human traffickers. He considered that a simplistic simplification that depends mainly on deterrence, control and implementation, and that it will fail because the problem is complex and precise, and a more sophisticated, intelligent and humane response is required.
Solomon believes that the government must accept that if there were safer and more regular ways for people, such as an expanded program of resettlement, humanitarian visas and rules for family reunification, fewer people would feel the need to make such dangerous journeys.
He hinted that both the Labor and Conservative governments have curtailed safe routes in recent decades with harsher asylum and immigration laws, forcing people to take dangerous journeys instead. He added that there is an urgent need for an ambitious expansion of safe roads.
Solomon concluded that the movement of people in search of safety was not just a political challenge to the British government, but rather a challenge faced by Europe and other Western countries. Like the climate crisis, it requires a multilateral response by working collaboratively with other countries. This includes working together to address the factors that compel people to seek safety. Finding mechanisms that bring stability and enrichment to those parts of the world from which people flee is of great importance.
His article concluded that these horrific deaths in the channel compel the government to stop and think again, less empty rhetoric, more intelligent realism, and most importantly less punitive control. And in the end more empathy is what we really need.