Lawmakers say UK law planned to deport Channel migrants breaches rights obligations

LONDON (AP) — A committee of British lawmakers said Sunday that the United Kingdom would breach its international human rights commitments if it implements the government’s plans to detain and deport people crossing the English Channel in small boats.

Parliament’s Joint Human Rights Committee said the Illegal Migration Bill “breaches a number of the UK’s international human rights obligations and risks breaching many of them.” ‘others”.

Scottish National Party lawmaker Joanna Cherry, who chairs the committee, said the law would leave most refugees and victims of modern slavery without any means of seeking asylum in Britain.

“By treating victims of modern slavery as ‘illegal migrants’ subject to detention and deportation, this bill would violate our legal obligations to these victims and risk increasing the trafficking of vulnerable people,” he said. she declared.

The committee urged the government to make sweeping changes to the bill, including exempting victims of trafficking and limiting the government’s power to detain people indefinitely. The government, which had pledged to “stop the boats”, is unlikely to heed the recommendations.

The legislation bars asylum claims from anyone who reaches the UK by unauthorized means and requires authorities to detain and then deport refugees and migrants “to their country of origin or a safe third country”, like Rwanda. Once deported, they would be banned from re-entering the UK

Britain’s Conservative government said the law would deter tens of thousands of people from making perilous journeys across the English Channel and break the business model of the criminal gangs driving these journeys. Critics, including the UN refugee agency, have described the legislation as unethical and unenforceable.

The parliamentary committee questioned whether the law would have a deterrent effect and said it ‘could cause people to take other, potentially more dangerous routes into the UK’.

The bill was approved by the House of Commons, where the ruling Conservatives have a majority, but faces opposition from the upper house of Parliament, the House of Lords. The Lords can amend legislation but not block it.

More than 45,000 people, including many from fleeing countries such as Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, arrived in Britain in small boats last year, up from 8,500 in 2020.

The government has housed many of those awaiting asylum decisions in hotels, which officials say is costing taxpayers millions of pounds (dollars) a day. The authorities announced their intention to place the new arrivals in disused military camps and a barge moored on the south coast of England.


Follow AP’s coverage of global migration at

Leave a Comment