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The Home Secretary set out her "New Plan for Immigration" today. Seeking asylum is not a crime say Liberal Democrats. Government must provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary.

March 24, 2021 8:22 PM

MD Mominul Hamid"Seeking asylum is not a crime, " said MD Mominul Hamid, Diversity Officer for Newcastle Liberal Democrats, and himself an asylum seeker who has been waiting 3 ½ years for a decision on his application.

"Refugees have fundamental human rights as agreed internationally by the UK, and these cannot be taken away unilaterally. We are all someone's father, mother, sister or brother. My rights are your rights. We all should strongly defend refugee and asylum rights because this kind of hostile environment could be the beginning of attempts to reduce other rights too. The UK's word used to mean something internationally. These moves will damage our reputation abroad as someone who sticks to their obligations."

Liberal Democrats Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP also said today: "Priti Patel's proposals aren't just cruel, they undermine the UK's commitments under the Refugee Convention. Breaking international law is becoming a nasty habit for this Conservative Government.

"People fleeing war and persecution - as the vast majority of those claiming asylum in the UK have - don't stop to check if their travel plans are OK with the Home Secretary. And nor should they have to. They must be welcomed with compassion, not treated like criminals.

"Nothing Priti Patel is proposing will solve the dysfunction at the heart of the Home Office. It won't deliver dignity for asylum seekers or fairness for taxpayers.

"Instead of these unnecessary, inhumane policies, the Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees. That's the best way to tackle people smugglers and human traffickers, and to prevent people making dangerous attempts to cross the Channel."

Under Article 21 of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, of which the UK is a signatory country :
"The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of Article 1, enter or are present in their territory without authorisation, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence."

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