July 25, 2003The UK must escape from the tangle of international Conventions and return decision-making to Westminster if the current crisis in the asylum system is ever to be resolved.
That is the view of think-tank, MigrationwatchUK, which has proposed
that Britain cut loose from the international straitjacket and pass
her own laws adapted to her own circumstances.
'The fact is that international Conventions - some now incorporated into British law by this Government - has bound us so tightly that we no longer have freedom to act in the best interests of either the British people or of those genuinely fleeing persecution,' said Migrationwatch chairman, Sir Andrew Green. 'This is now widely recognised by the public and is a major cause of rising resentment.
'It is time that the Government faced up to the reality of the situation and freed us from laws, some drawn up for different times and circumstances, and introduced laws that are right for today. Tinkering with the system and constantly announcing trivial 'initiatives' is no longer good enough,' he said...
Sir Andrew said that the principal legislation - the 1951 Geneva Convention and the European Convention of Human Rights, now incorporated in the Human Rights Act 1998 - interlocked with each other both to introduce delays and to prevent the detention of asylum seekers while their case is decided. This, in turn, makes it much more difficult to remove those whose claims fail.
'As our recent MORI Poll (see report) showed
there is a great deal of concern right across the UK with 80% saying
the asylum rules should be much tougher,' said Sir Andrew. 'We need
a swift, fair and equitable system that balances the interests of
UK citizens with those genuinely fleeing persecution and an end
to the many cases that mock our hospitality and bring the law into
disrepute. The key is an effective removal system which can only
be achieved under a new legal framework.
The government should now summon up the political courage to take radical and effective action. The public certainly wish to see this.'
In summary Migrationwatch advocates
Denunciation of the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees
Temporary withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights and
The construction of a new national framework of laws that would enable the government to disqualify certain categories from asylum such as those who damage the Channel Tunnel etc
The abolition of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal so as to reduce the number of possible appeals open to asylum seekers from four to three.
The granting of asylum to be a temporary concession
Oblige dependants to show they were also at risk
'If these actions were taken it should permit most cases to be decided within a month and thus make it feasible for applicants to be detained while their cases were heard,' said Sir Andrew.
'We do not underestimate the major difficulties involved but they are certainly not insuperable and must be set against the costs to our society of continued large-scale immigration under the guise of asylum seeking.
'This is arousing intense resentment among the indigenous population and is very damaging to community relations. Allowing this to continue without effective action is not a prudent option,' he said.