René Cassin submits evidence on the state of the asylum system

16 Dec, 2022 | Asylum and Detention, Latest, Press releases and statements, Recent Submissions, Stop the hostile environment

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We have submitted evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, reasserting our “grave concerns about the state of asylum seekers rights today.” Read it in full HERE.

Our submission covered four key areas:

“First, the complete lack of ‘safe and legal routes’ for those seeking asylum outside of a bespoke scheme or resettlement programme. Second, the shirking of human rights obligations and endangering of vulnerable people by outsourcing asylum to third countries. Third, the cruel, inhumane, and ineffective practice of immigration detention and offshoring. Fourth, the ill-conceived conflation of immigration policy with policies on trafficking and slavery.”

On ‘safe routes’

“Outside of these narrow conditions, there are no ‘safe and legal routes’ by which to enter the UK to formally seek asylum. This is completely incompatible with the Refugee Convention…As a Jewish human rights organisation, we see this as an ominous evasion of human rights laws designed in response to our horrific experience in the Holocaust.”

On offshore processing

“On principle, outsourcing the UK’s asylum and protection obligations undermines the foundation of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. In practice, it is anti-democratic and cruel.”

On immigration detention

“Drawing on the Jewish experience of internment in the UK in the 1940s, including on the Isle of Man, René Cassin believes that the UK’s detention estate and the policy of indefinite detention directly contravene the ECHR and the UDHR…[and] current detention conditions run counter to international human rights precedents set out in the aftermath of one of the Holocaust.”

On trafficking and modern slavery

“Slavery and trafficking are unavoidably connected to Jewish experience, a foundational narrative of a people led from slavery to freedom. The UK’s legal framework for tackling modern slavery will be incompatible with our human rights obligations if it continues to be conflated with immigration policy. The Rwanda scheme…exemplifies the harm of this conflation, with the government confirming that victims of trafficking will be among those sent.”

René Cassin aims to promote and protect universal rights drawing on Jewish values and experience. As a Jewish human rights organisation, our submission illustrates how the current state of the asylum system foregoes precious human rights frameworks were designed in response to our horrific experience in the Holocaust and the plight of Jewish refugees seeking safety during and after the war.

You can find our submission in full HERE.

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