Saturday, October 16

Gibraltar and Isle of Man rule out UK accommodation for asylum seekers | UK News

The governments of Gibraltar and the Isle of Man have said they would not host asylum seekers on behalf of the UK, and have poured cold water on the proposals that Priti Patel will present next week.

Both islands are being considered for the interior secretary’s plans to send people to overseas processing centers, according to the Daily mail Y the times, as part of a broader review of the asylum system called “sovereign borders”.

Gibraltar Prime Minister Fabian Picardo said that he had not had conversations with anyone from the UK government and that he had written to Patel to confirm the reports were “unfounded”, while an IoM source said there was “no basis for “for reports.

Picardo said: “Immigration is an area of ​​my responsibility as Chief Minister under the Gibraltar constitution and I can confirm that this issue has not been raised with me at any level. It would have made it clear that this is not an area where we think we can help the UK. “

The IoM government source said: “The Isle of Man is autonomous, the UK government could not open any kind of processing center on the island without its consent. The UK government has not contacted the Isle of Man government on any such proposal. “

Other islands off the British coast, including the Scottish islands, are reportedly being considered, as are countries like Turkey.

Discussions have been held with several countries outside the EU about accepting people in exchange for cash, similar to a controversial scheme operated by Australia, the reports suggested.

The reports follow a series of leaks last year suggesting that the UK government was considering a number of Australian-style policies, including sending asylum seekers for processing on Ascension Island, to more than 4,000. miles from the UK, which has echoes of Australia’s controversial Manus Island. and Nauru Extraterritorial Detention Centers.

An Interior Ministry source said: “As people die on dangerous journeys, we would be irresponsible if we did not consider all avenues.”

However, the source downplayed reports that the destinations being considered included Turkey, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man or other British Isles, saying this was “all speculation”.

Immigration experts criticized the latest proposals as ineffective and inhumane.

Mike Adamson, Executive Director of the British Red Cross, said: “Offshoring the UK asylum system will do nothing to address the reasons why people take dangerous travel in the first place and will almost certainly have serious humanitarian consequences. “.

He added: “From children rescued by the Kindertransport to those displaced by the decade-long conflict in Syria, providing shelter in the heart of our communities is what is needed for people fleeing conflict and persecution and should be a feature. key to global Britain as a force for good. Being housed in offshore facilities is the opposite of that. “

Sonia Lenegan, legal director of the Immigration Law Professionals Association, said: “The Secretary of the Interior says she wants to prevent human traffickers from putting people’s lives at risk, but the risk of harm in the proposals of the government is huge.

“Lives have been lost both in the detention centers on Manus Island and in Nauru, along with a very high level of suicide attempts and incidents of self-harm. This is not a safe option, and it will be the government that puts the lives of refugees at risk rather than human traffickers.

“Processing abroad is also enormously expensive, and we have seen how third countries can use these agreements to their political advantage, such as when Turkey threatened the EU to open its borders in February last year.”

Enver Solomon, Executive Director of the Refugee Council, said: “We know from the Australian model that detention abroad leads to dire outcomes, including high levels of self-harm and mental illness.

“It is an inhumane policy that undermines our nation’s proud tradition of providing protection to people fleeing persecution and terror, many of whom have worked as doctors and nurses in the NHS.”

Opposition politicians rounded out the proposals.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow Home Secretary, said: “Conservatives are reeling from one inhuman and ridiculous proposition to another.

“Last year, they were talking about creating waves in the English Channel to wash ships and buy ferries and oil rigs to process asylum applications. These absurd ideas show that the government has lost control and all sense of compassion. Ministers must act to reopen safe routes, as promised, and fulfill the promised agreement with France.

Scottish National Party immigration spokesperson Anne McLaughlin said: “The Home Secretary, already facing widespread criticism for housing asylum seekers in dilapidated military barracks, has reached a new low with her plans to send the asylum seekers to remote island detention centers and punish asylum seekers. simply based on how they arrive – a desperate repeat of a failed New Labor policy of 20 years ago.

“It is worrying that any government, particularly the UK government, is considering replicating the widely condemned Australian asylum system. Fulfilling these plans could potentially violate the UK’s obligations under human rights law and the 1951 refugee convention. The fact that Conservatives are considering them says it all. “

The government believes that sending migrants to third countries for processing would comply with the European human rights convention, according to reports.

The Times said the legislation would include life sentences for human smugglers and the establishment of migrant reception centers on government land, and many are now staying in hotels.

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