Your plan to stop small-boat crossings breaks international law, says the UN. Six days ago, the European council on refugees reminded us that some people fleeing from awfulness know they may die while crossing the sea.
Why Suella Braverman, Why Rishi Sunak? Why might the threat of being arrested for landing a small boat in the UK be a bigger threat than the prospect of drowning?
Mahmoud Bakir was a young Palestinian man, a father from Gaza. In February 2021 he wrote a poem.
Mahmoud sank while attempting to reach Europe.
Tell the sea after the news of my death that I wasn't that thirsty to fill my lungs with his water that I am only an extremely exhausted man who suffered all his life long from poverty who work all day long to pursue a dignified life for his children I wanted to flee like all poor people I went to you, sea to pull me out of the darkness to take me to a brighter trajectory You misunderstood me, sea I told you that I wasn't thirsty
The UN high commissioner for refugees has previously said a blanket ban on claiming asylum in the UK for those arriving on small boats would breach the Refugee Convention.
Article 14 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states
“Everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
The 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees gives an international meaning of ‘refugee’ A refugee is a person in another country at risk of persecution in her, his or their own country.
The UN Convention gives certain basic rights of refugees that are necessary for the enjoyment of asylum. These include the right not to be returned to a place where they are at risk of persecution.
It also includes the right not to be penalised for being in or entering a country without permission where this is necessary for them to seek and receive asylum.
In other words, “Everybody has the right to seek asylum from persecution in another country, and there is no such thing as an ‘illegal asylum-seeker”.