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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Spotlight on Asylum

The Reverend Aled Edwards, who chairs the Welsh Refugee Council, really hit the nail on the head yesterday with regards to Tory immigration policies. He was quoted by the Western Mail as saying "the Conservative leader should accept responsibility for criticisms made last year in a report by the Commons' Home Affairs Select Committee. The report said the computer system was introduced 18 months late and by April 1997, there were 54,000 asylum applications awaiting an initial decision."

He went on: "Experience dictates that throwing populist headlines at complicated humanitarian problems rarely makes sense and, when they don't work, frequently demands expensive remedies at the taxpayers' expense.

'Proposals (by the Conservatives) to withdraw from the 1951 Refugee Convention and replace the fundamental right to seek asylum with a 'quota' for refugees are alarming and dangerous. Even for a modern Anne Frank arriving in the UK, seeking safety from persecution, the experience under this policy would be nothing other than repugnant."

"On arrival in the UK, she would be deprived of the protection currently offered by the UN Convention, the pertinent Human Rights legislation and presumably, the UK's child protection policies. She would presumably be taken from our shores to a camp in another country. To date, no country has been specified. Once there, even if she is deemed to be a genuine refugee, there will be no guaranteed entry into the UK."

The reference to Ann Frank is a particularly apt one. Under a Conservative regime she would be mistreated and possibly even sent back to her death. Is this anyway for a civilised country to behave?
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