UK immigration rules introduced by Home Secretary, Priti Patel, could see two-thirds of female and child refugees turned away from Britain, according to campaigners. Patel’s controversial ‘New Plan for UK Immigration’ has been met with scathing criticism, and campaigners are now warning that women and child refugees could be refused sanctuary.
The warning comes after a former refugee, who now works for the NHS, hit out at the government over plans to abandon ‘people like her’ who have had to flee violence and corruption in their home country.
Under Patel’s new look UK immigration system, increased efforts will be made to remove people who enter Britain illegally – including those crossing the English Channel in boats, where numbers hit record levels in May – after travelling through another country where they could have sought asylum.
Coalition of charities
However, a coalition of charities calling themselves Together with Refugees, claim that the harsh new rules will mean that women and children fleeing war and persecution will be unable to remain in the UK.
Former refugee and spokesperson for the coalition, Sabir Zazai, said: “These are mothers escaping war-torn Syria, women fleeing sexual violence in Congo or children escaping life-long conscription into the military in Eritrea. These are people in fear of their lives. These are people like me. These are also people like you, people who want to live in safety and dignity.”
“The majority of people in Britain believe in protecting refugees, and the government themselves have said they want to protect the most vulnerable including women and children. That’s why we are calling for a more effective, fair and humane approach to supporting refugees,” Zazai added.
According to a report published by iNews, Together with Refugees is made up of more than 200 organisations, which have urged the government to allow refugees to have a fair hearing about remaining in the UK.
Actioning the New Plan for UK Immigration
Responding to the ‘warning’ issued by Together with Refugees, a spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We have a responsibility to put the ‘New Plan for Immigration’ into action so that we can fix the broken asylum system, helping people based on need, not the ability to pay people smugglers.”
“People should be reassured by our track record – since 2015 we have resettled over 25,000 vulnerable refugees, many women and children so they can rebuild their lives here. We will continue to work closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure those in greatest need get our support,” the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson went on to say that the Home Office would make ‘no apology’ for trying to fix a part of the UK immigration system that is constantly exploited by human traffickers who are encouraging women and children to risk their lives by making the perilous journey across the Channel to reach Britain.
The United Nations was one of many to fire a warning at the Home Office about the so-called ‘New Plan for Immigration’, particularly the adoption of a two-tier approach to asylum, which it described as ‘discriminatory.
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