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Refugee and Human Rights Groups Urge Keir Starmer for Compassionate Overhaul of UK’s Asylum Policies

The letter addressed to Keir Starmer from hundreds of refugee and human rights organizations outlines a comprehensive critique of the UK’s asylum policies, calling them “fundamentally broken.” Signed by 300 civil society groups and 534 individuals working with migrants, the letter urges a significant shift from the policies of the previous government. It emphasizes the need for a new approach that prioritizes protecting people seeking safety over punitive measures for political gain.

Key demands presented in the letter include repealing the Illegal Migration Act and the Nationality and Borders Act to restore the right to seek asylum in accordance with international law. It advocates for opening safe routes to the UK to prevent dangerous Channel crossings, facilitating family reunification, and rebuilding refugee resettlement programs.

Refugee and Human Rights Groups Urge Keir Starmer for Compassionate Overhaul of UK's Asylum Policies

Refugee and Human Rights Groups Urge Keir Starmer for Compassionate Overhaul of UK’s Asylum Policies

Criticism is directed at current practices that lead to a backlog of asylum applications and harsh conditions in facilities such as barracks, barges, and hostels, which exacerbate mental health issues.

The signatories, which include prominent organizations like the Refugee Council and Refugee Action, call for housing asylum seekers within communities rather than in isolated camps. They argue for allowing asylum seekers to work within six months of arrival, highlighting the economic benefits and the dignity it affords individuals rebuilding their lives.

Sarah Wilson from the Penrith and Eden Refugee Network stresses the historical role of refugees in the UK and urges a return to compassionate policies that foster integration and utilize refugee talent.

Duncan McAuley, CEO of Action Foundation, echoes the sentiment, emphasizing the urgency of adopting a humane approach to asylum seekers and ending the demonization of those forced to undertake perilous journeys due to a lack of safe routes.

In response, a Home Office spokesperson reaffirmed the government’s commitment to reforming the asylum system to ensure swift, firm, and fair operation while enforcing rules effectively.

The letter and its demands underscore a widespread call for a compassionate overhaul of UK asylum policies, urging political leaders to prioritize human rights and dignity in their approach to refugees and asylum seekers.

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