As previously reported the Government has opened a new Immigration Removal Centre for women at Hassockfield in County Durham. The site was officially opened at the end of last year, with the first women transferred on the 28th of December... an incredibly cruel period between Christmas and New Year. The No to Hassockfield Campaign, along with other groups, has been hosting monthly demonstrations at the site itself on the third Saturday of Every Month. Prayer vigils, organised by multiple faith groups, also take place monthly.
We are devastated that the Government's cruel and inhumane Nationality and Borders Bill passed into law last night (27 April). This was despite it being criticised as being both contrary to the Geneva Refugee Convention and unworkable by organisations such as the UNHCR. Our Peers in the Lords, with the support of many cross benchers and Bishops, put up a brave fight right up until the end trying to get at least some improvements to the current system and amelioration of the draconian proposals. Lib Dem MPs spoke out strongly against the Bill in the House. But all to no avail. This is how the vote unfolded on some key issues:
The Conservative Government plans to send asylum seekers to have their claims processed in Rwanda. Liberal Democrats have campaigned for years, often with colleagues in other parties and alongside NGOs, for a fair, efficient and less harmful asylum system.
We are disgusted by this Government's inhumane treatment of people whose right to seek sanctuary in this country had been accepted even by its own stringent rules. It is not, and never has been, illegal to claim asylum. The 1951 Refugee Convention sets out the rights individuals with a well-founded fear of persecution to claim asylum and the legal obligations of countries (including the UK to protect them) - and that right is not conditional on how the person arrives in the country
Wendy Chamberlain Liberal Democrat MP for NE Fife says earlier today "The way to stop dangerous Channel crossings is to provide safe and legal routes for asylum seekers to come to the UK, not sending people thousands of miles away to a country with a poor human rights record."
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