We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

From the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)

January 23, 2022 3:51 PM
By Chris

A range of scandals concerning asylum decisions, extra-legal notices of "illegal entry", border security technology, and accommodation shortcomings continue to engulf the Home Office. Read all about them here

In brief:

  • Recently, the ministry attempted to decline asylum claims from persecuted Yemenis and Afghansin decisions that went against the Home Office's own guidance, as well as that of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
  • The week before, a Syrian manfleeing government persecution was told he could return home: the government clarified in a tweet that forced returns to Syria were not taking place.
  • People disembarking from Channel boats have been issued "notices of liability to detention" declaring they will be deported for being "illegal entrants", despite the fact that this crime does not exist under UK law. The Court of Appeal said the Home Office had misinterpreted the law and that crossing the Channel by dinghy to seek asylum did not amount to illegal entry. The government responded that, though the crime of "illegal entry" does not currently exist, the Borders Billcurrently before the House of Lords "will make illegal arrival a criminal offence and introduce a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for those who facilitate illegal entry into the country". International law prohibits the penalisation of asylum seekers for "illegal" entry into a territory for the purposes of seeking asylum.
  • According to Sky News, the government wants to use Long-Range Acoustic Devicesor "sound canons" to stop refugee boats from crossing the Channel. The sonic devices emit high-frequency, loud noises that can induce vomiting. The Home Office confirmed that two boats were fitted with the technology but said they would not be used for "deterrence". The royal navy has been granted operational control of the border control operation in the Channel, and thus any potential future pushbacks, though senior officers have said they will not go along with plans.
  • The government's management of asylum seeker accommodation has also drawn the ire of NGOs after an investigation revealed that 20 childrendisappeared from asylum hotels over six months in 2021, with only half recovered later.
  • Further, it has been confirmed that the Napier Barracks, branded a "profoundly depressing example of the Home Office's institutionalised inhumanity" by Amnesty International, will continue to house asylum seekers until at least 2025.