Priti Patel’s controversial new borders bill violates national and international laws in at least 10 different ways, a report by a team of prominent immigration lawyers concluded.
Four lawyers led by the human rights QC Raza Husain say the nationality and borders bill, which is moving forward in parliament, will lead to challenges under international human rights and refugee treaties.
After 95 pages of legal opinions commissioned by the human rights group Freedom from Torture, they conclude: “This bill represents the largest legal assault on international refugee law ever seen in the UK.
“The principle at the heart of the bill is the criminalization, both criminally and administratively, of those who come to the UK by irregular means to seek asylum and the bill seeks to reverse a number of important decisions by UK courts. , including the House of Lords and appellate court level, in the last 20 years “.
The legal opinion draws battle lines between the government and human rights lawyers that will likely be put to the test in court if, as expected, the bill passes through parliament and becomes law in the spring.
It has emerged as Patel faces challenges from cabinet members and Conservative MPs scrapping proposals to allow asylum seekers to work in the UK. It is understood that Dominic Raab, the attorney general and the commercial secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, support the idea.
The stated goals of the bill, which is at the committee stage, are to make the asylum system fairer, to deter illegal entry into the UK and to expel people without the right to be in the country.
It also means that anyone arriving in the UK via an illegal route, such as in a small boat across the English Channel, could have their claim declared inadmissible, receive a jail sentence of up to four years, not have access to public funds and could bar your family members from joining them.
According to the report, the inadmissibility regime described in the bill is potentially a violation of articles 31 and 33 of the refugee convention, as well as articles 2, 3 and 4 of the European convention on human rights (ECHR). .
The two-tier asylum system the government plans to introduce means that those arriving by “irregular means” such as ships will have fewer rights, lawyers said, which would be incompatible with the refugee convention and the ECHR.
“The basis of the attack on irregular arrival is that refugees must use safe legal routes. But there are no such safe legal routes. There is no such thing as a refugee visa, ”they said.
Plans to send asylum seekers to an extraterritorial center would violate three articles of the ECHR, three of the articles of the refugee convention, according to the report, while plans to “speed up” cases with an expedited appeals process and accelerated would run the risk of injustice under customary law, as well as Articles 2, 3, 4, 8 and 13 of the ECHR.
Husain, who has appeared in 37 human rights and immigration cases before the Supreme Court or House of Lords, wrote the report with Eleanor Mitchell of the Matrix Chambers, Jason Pogboy of Blackstone Chambers, and Sarah Dobbie of 5 Essex Court.
According to lawyers, the government is attempting to reverse the rationale for the refugee convention, which was to introduce a needs-based approach to replace the authorization-based regimes of the 1930s.
Steve Crawshaw, director of policy at Freedom From Torture, said the bill showed that the government seemed not to care that they were “overlooking” international obligations.
“Opposition to the government’s latest attempt at cruel anarchy is growing. Survivors of torture and hundreds of groups across the country have come together in a national coalition larger than ever. We need to make sure that humanity and international law can still triumph, ”he said.
The Interior Ministry has been contacted for comment.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism