Liberty issues asylum election warning

21 January 2009

The pledge, which will be announced at a Barnardo’s lecture, will ask parliamentarians to remember Britain’s history as a place of refuge for the persecuted and reject the use of xenophobia in discussions about asylum and immigration policy.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said:

“The time has come for a clear and respectful warning to those who hold or seek power over the most vulnerable people in this land. Britain hates bullies and finds them no more attractive in red, blue or striped clothing. Do not underestimate the ocean of common decency in the oldest democracy on Earth. We will be watching.”

The lecture is the third event in Barnardo’s lecture series and will be held at 61 Whitehall from 6.15pm.

Contact: Mairi Clare Rodgers on 020 7378 3656 or 07973831128

Notes to Editors

1. Liberty’s Asylum Election Pledge:

“There is no place for racism and xenophobia in modern British politics. Nor is democratic debate advanced by the denigration of the most vulnerable in our country, including children and asylum seekers who do not enjoy the right to participate in elections.

I promise to remember the importance of refugee protection, even in free and wide-ranging debates about immigration policy. I will never play fast and loose with the proud tradition of a nation that must always offer succour to those in genuine fear of persecution.”

2. Liberty will mobilise its membership to urge MPs and electoral candidates to sign up and keep the promises in the pledge.

3. Find out more about Liberty’s Common Values campaign.