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Declaration of "grave concern" over Britain's Illegal Migration Bill - Senator Paul Gavan

25 April, 2023 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has welcomed a declaration of “grave concern” regarding the British Government’s proposed Illegal Migration Bill.

The declaration was adopted unanimously by members of the Committee on Migration, Refugees, and Displaced Persons from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Senator Gavan chaired the meeting during this week’s parliamentary sitting in Strasbourg.

Speaking after the declaration was passed, Senator Gavan said:

“We heard powerful contributions from both Leslie Griffiths and Jeremy Corbyn who set out in stark terms the huge concerns over this proposed Bill.

"From an Irish perspective it is important to note that a report issued by an international group of lawyers has cited this Bill as one (of a number) that threatens the human rights framework of the Good Friday Agreement.

“The right to seek asylum is a fundamental right. If passed, the Illegal Migration Bill would deny protection to asylum seekers who entered Britain or the North of Ireland unauthorised, including victims of trafficking.

"It confers a new legal duty of the Home Secretary to remove anyone who comes to Britain or the North of Ireland either back to their home country, to Rwanda, or to another 'safe third country'.

The Bill also foresees a greater use of detention in border management, including for children.

“The Declaration points out that the provisions of this Bill are a wilful distortion of core UN and European conventions.

"Its provisions would jeopardise the right to an effective remedy, breach the non-refoulement principle, endanger victims of forced labour and modern slavery, and strip international protection seekers of their right to seek asylum, with no regard for the best interest of the child.

"The British government-proposed amendment to the Bill announced this week, which puts into question the obligation under Article 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights to respect interim measures, is of immense concern.

“The fact that this declaration was adopted unanimously in a very well attended meeting of our committee sends the strongest possible message to the British Government from PACE that they should withdraw this appalling Bill, which is an affront to human rights and to all the principles of the Council of Europe.”


Note to Editor:
The full text of the declaration can be found here.

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