When United Kingdom Home Secretary Theresa May announced her plan to shut down the UK Border Agency (UKBA), members of the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ) celebrated this victory. At the same time, our happiness in seeing the demise of the corrupt, torturous and racist UKBA is tempered by our fears that the Government’s plan to create a new asylum and immigration system will do nothing to address the well-documented failings of the UKBA or, worse yet, will simply exacerbate and worsen the human rights violations and inhumane treatment that asylum seekers face in Britain now.
The only way to fix the current completely broken asylum process is to junk every aspect of it and create a new system from scratch. There is no ‘reforming,’ ‘tweaking,’ or ‘administrative recalibrating’ of the current system that can fix any of the problems caused by the UKBA’s methods and policies. In our experience, the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers – especially those held in detention centres – feel that they are being victimised, criminalised, abused and degraded simply because they ask Britain to provide them shelter. No one deserves to be put through hell for trying to stay alive.
The seven proposals MFJ presents below are the only humane, fair, efficient and viable solutions needed to create a viable asylum system in line with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ guidelines and principles. Our proposals are based on the vast experience we have had with the asylum system and the most current research done in this area, which underscores our own findings.
Our 7 Proposals:
- Give asylum seekers, refugees and their supporters a voice in creating a new, rational, fair and streamlined asylum system.
- MFJ Supports providing asylum seekers and refugees with full housing and benefits support afforded to everyone else in Britain
- End the use of Detained Fast Track for asylum seekers.
- To streamline the asylum process, hold all Initial Screening Interviews after the asylum seeker is appraised of what the criteria for asylum are and is given an opportunity to prepare his/her Case.
- Detention Centres must not be used to warehouse asylum seekers. Release all asylum seekers held in detention for more than one week. Exempt all women and children from Detention.
- Grant asylum seekers from Commonwealth countries the same right to be in Britain as European Union immigrants. End the deals and backlog of cases.
- Grant asylum to all those with unresolved asylum claims which are more than two years old
The full submission made by MFJ/BAMN to the UK Home Secretary may be viewed below: