Quakers condemn passage of the government’s “senselessly cruel” illegal migration act
As the government's illegal migration bill passes the Lords, Quakers in Britian have joined 289 organisations to uphold and stand alongside those affected.
The joint statement warns that the Act abandons the UK's moral and legal obligations, risking the breach of multiple international human rights treaties including the Refugee Convention.
The Act will force people into situations that threaten their lives, it says, whether by placing children in detention or sending people off to countries where their lives might be at grave risk.
The Illegal Migration Bill had a choppy progress through parliament, with the Lords making repeated amendments.
And the actual implementation of the Act is unclear. The government now has a legal duty to detain and remove those arriving in the UK illegally, either to Rwanda or another 'safe' country.
But the Court of Appeal ruled the Rwanda plan unlawful last month, and there are no deals with other countries.
Under this legislation there is no way for refugees to claim asylum in the UK if they arrive through unauthorised means.
But the government accepts virtually no asylum routes as legal. All refugees except for Ukrainians and those from Hong Kong are “inadmissible".
They therefore fall back on the very small boats crossing the Channel that the government is trying to prevent.
This legislation will result in a de facto 'asylum ban', the UN Refugee Agency said in March.
“[This Act] turns our country's back on people seeking safety, blocking them from protection, support and justice at a time they need it most," signatories including Greenpeace, Oxfam and Save the Children wrote.
Quakers believe that in every person, every homeless child, every refugee, every worker or preacher, there is a child of God. This has led to a longstanding commitment to welcoming people seeking sanctuary.