The statement calls on the government to withdraw the bill immediately on the basis that it is effectively a ban on asylum, extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the UK. Liberty sent the statement to all members of the House of Lords ahead of a key debate on the bill on 10 May.
The signatories span sectors including human rights, migrant rights, violence against women and girls, LGBTQI+, disability rights, health, racial justice, criminal justice, arts, international development, environment, and democracy. In the statement they said:
“We all deserve to live safe from harm and to be treated with compassion, dignity, and respect. But this shockingly cruel and inhumane Bill turns our country’s back on people fleeing war and persecution, blocking them from protection, support, or justice at a time they need it most.”
“In stripping the most basic rights from people seeking safety and a better life, the Bill dismantles human rights protections for all of us,” the statement continues.
Rt Hon Joanna Cherry KC MP Chair Joint Committee on Human Rights Houses of Parliament London SW1A 0AA By email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com CC: All Members of the Joint Committee on Human Rights 3 March 2023
Dear Ms Cherry KC URGENT Inquiry needed in relation to the use of hotel accommodation for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children
We write in relation to a matter of pressing national concern — namely, the Home Office accommodating thousands of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in hotel and B&B type accommodation for a period of 19 months, during which time hundreds of children have gone missing.
Our view is that there is no legal basis for the Home Office to accommodate children in this way. The effect of this action has been to systematically exclude from the protection of the Children Act 1989 and associated secondary legislation and guidance a cohort of highly vulnerable children, on the basis of where they were born and how they entered a local authority area. They are now treated as being outside the usual established standards for providing suitable accommodation, care, and support to children in need.
We consider that these Home Office arrangements breach the human rights of children in multiple ways, both under domestic and international law. This includes their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
We are appalled by the proposals in the government’s ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ to detain, punish and reject thousands of people seeking safety. They are completely incompatible with our Christian conviction that all human beings are made in the image of God, and are therefore inherently worthy of treatment which honours their dignity. Instead of dignity, these plans will foster discrimination and distrust, and cause immeasurable harm to people already made vulnerable by conflict and persecution. If ever there was a contemporary example of ignoring our neighbour and walking by on the other side, this is it.
Sign the Pledge to Fight the Anti-Refugee LawsThis is a form for organisations, faith groups, charities, community groups, businesses, trade unions and others to sign the pledge to fight the ‘anti-refugee’ laws contained in the Nationality and Borders Act 2022.
The pledge has been drafted by Asylum Matters and Refugee Action, in partnership with a number of organisations working on asylum and refugee issues across the UK. The statement and its signatories will be hosted on the website: FightTheAntiRefugeeLaws.org, and will be used to secure media coverage.
We may be in touch with signatories to the pledge periodically to update you on our plans to use the pledge for campaigning purposes and to invite you to opt into related initiatives.
“We believe that people seeking protection from war and persecution should be welcomed and that everyone’s claim for asylum should be treated equally and fairly. We believe that the UK should offer sanctuary to those who need it.
That’s why we’re taking a stand against the anti-refugee laws. We pledge to: – Defend the right to seek safety from war and persecution in the UK; – Speak out against attempts to make it harder to be recognised as a refugee, and criminalise and punish those who make their own way to safety; – Challenge the anti-refugee laws which will risk the lives and well-being of people; – Work towards a refugee protection system that treats all people with dignity and compassion.”
Open letter to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary about plans to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda
Dear Prime Minister and Home Secretary,
As people with lived experience of the asylum system, refugee and migrants’ rights, anti-trafficking, human rights and civil liberties, access to justice, children’s rights, violence against women and girls’ (VAWG), arts and culture, international development, racial justice, criminal justice reform, democracy, data privacy and technology rights, disability rights, religious and faith, environment justice, and LGBTQ+ rights organisations and groups, we resolutely oppose the Government’s announcement regarding its plans to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda. This plan is fundamentally out of step with widespread public support for refugees in the UK. We demand that you scrap this plan, abandon the Nationality and Borders Bill, cease plans to overhaul the Human Rights Act and instead create humane and effective solutions for the protection of refugees.
22 Quaker representatives have signed a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to reconsider the Nationality and Borders Bill.
Leaders from the six major faith groups in the UK said they are “horrified and appalled about the potential repercussions of the Bill” and called on the Prime Minister to make urgent changes.
We assert that the values that bind UK citizens together, especially those concerning human dignity and life, will be fundamentally damaged by this Bill.
These include abandoning plans to criminalise and restrict the rights of people arriving in the UK through irregular routes, such as by boat or lorry. The letter calls on the government to create safe routes to help people reach the UK.
Quaker signatories include: Paul Parker, Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain; Elizabeth Allen, Clerk to General Meeting for Scotland; and Sheila Mosley on behalf of the Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network (QARN).
The letter was coordinated by the Joint Public Issues Team, made up of the Methodist Church in Britain, Baptist Union of Great Britain and United Reformed Church, working with the Church of Scotland.
14 June 2021: from BID and Liberty: Our letter, signed by 42 organisations, was covered in an article below in the Guardian
The most recent Home Office bail policy sets out its plan to transition from radio frequency monitoring to GPS monitoring for people on immigration bail. Whereas radio frequency monitoring can verify whether a person is where they should be at a given time, GPS monitoring provides 24/7 real time location monitoring, tracking an individual’s every move: it tells you where someone has gone, where they have shopped, what GP’s practice they have been to, and much more. Those who are being monitored in this way do not know when the ordeal will end because there is no time limit for how long people will be tracked.
Today (27 January 2022), a coalition of community groups has sent an open letter signed by more than 100 organisations and individuals to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, asking for the removal of Clause 9 from the Bill.
The letter was sent this morning to the Prime Minister and will also be copied to members of the House of Lords, who will be debating the Nationality and Borders Bill in Committee today.
Clause 9 extends the powers of the Home Secretary to remove Citizenship from British nationals. If the Bill passes with the clause still in place, the Home Secretary will not have to notify any individual whose British citizenship they may decide to revoke.
The coalition was convened by Nazek Ramadan, Executive Director of Migrant Voice and Councillor Khaled Noor, Chairperson, The Muslim Professionals Forum.
Faced with COVID, the Government should have done everything in its power to ensure everyone had support. Everyone needs a way to earn a living, access to the public safety net if they need it, safe accommodation, and access to vaccines and the NHS.
But Hostile Environment policies cut undocumented migrants off from these basic rights. Because they don’t have the right piece of paper in their passport, people without status have been left destitute, homeless, and afraid or unable to get help during the pandemic.
We need accountability, and change. The public inquiry into the Government handling of COVID is getting underway now. We are calling on the Chair to make sure the experiences of all migrants, including those without status, are part of her investigation.
Scroll down to add your name to our open letter today, to be part of the movement calling for change.
The undersigned civil society organizations write to express our grave concern about widespread, unlawful, and sometimes severe mistreatment of migrants at and around international borders around the world and to call on the Human Rights Council to take appropriate action by establishing an independent monitoring mechanism on pushbacks and collective expulsions, and the accompanying violations used to enact them.