Human Rights Act, ECHR and Government accountability / Immigration and migrants' rights


Posted on 13 Mar 2023

The Illegal Migration Bill – also known as the Refugee Ban Bill – is an assault on human rights that will put people’s lives at risk and allow the Government to abuse rights with impunity.

This Bill will:

  • Violate the human rights of people most in need of safety and protection.
  • Give the Home Secretary of the day unprecedented powers to make laws and life-changing decisions, evading Parliamentary scrutiny.
  • Give the Government a free pass to commit human rights abuses, removing vital methods for people to challenge them and seek justice.

Why we should be worried about it:

  • The Bill deliberately breaches international and domestic law, from the UN Refugee to Convention to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
  • It will put lives at risk of extreme harm by removing basic human rights from refugees, migrants and victims of slavery and human trafficking.
  • It will severely limit the ability for people to challenge detention, and to appeal deportation decisions.
  • Will grant the Home Secretary the power to detain people in any place and for any length of time they consider appropriate.
  • Will give the Home Secretary the power to overrule ‘interim measures’ by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) – a tool which is only used by the Court in extreme cases to place a temporary stop on an action likely to produce a significant breach of human rights to allow time for a full judgment to take place.
  • Will also give the Home Secretary the sole power to decide whether a threshold for ‘serious and irreversible harm’ has been met when deporting/detaining people, a term intentionally not defined in the Bill.

The Bigger Picture:

  • In short, this Bill breaks multiple domestic and international laws, and gives free rein to the Government to commit wide-spread human rights abuses. It is a clear power-grab from the Government to do what it wants without being held to account by the people, the courts or by Parliament.
  • This is a cruel, reckless and desperate move from a government willing to rip up everyone’s rights and freedoms for cheap political points.
  • In creating a Bill it knows will break the law, the Government is knowingly putting thousands of lives at extreme risk. The Bill will remove vital protections from refugees and victims of human trafficking. It will tear families and communities apart, and it’ll lead to more children and vulnerable people being kept in detention.
  • The Government is deliberately setting itself up for a clash with the ECHR and ECtHR.
  • The ECHR protects all of us in the UK. The rights and freedoms we are all familiar with come from the Convention. Dragging the UK out of the ECHR will allow the Government to knowingly commit human rights abuses against anyone – and we will have no way to get justice.

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