Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Leave the country or starve

The High Court today refused an application for judicial review from a failed asylum seeker. She was not disputing the decision to reject her application for asylum. At issue was the law withdrawing benefits from failed asylum seekers, and taking their children into care. Her lawyers argued that this policy had the effect of driving such people underground, and putting vulnerable people at risk of sexual exploitation and much else. The court backed out of the fight, meekly claiming that questions as to the desirability of the policy were a matter for Parliament. That may well be, but the judge also rejected the argument that the legislation was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. I am yet to read the full judgment, and I am curious as to how he arrived at that view. The only reason I can think of is that he might have considered that the applicant was not bound to stay in the United Kingdom. If she found the situation so intolerable, she could always return home, I suppose. This conclusion is possible, predicated on the fact that her asylum application had already been rejected. Somehow in this case, I cannot get rid of the feeling that while the letter of the law has been applied and brought to its logical conclusion, as a society, we have lost something of the merciful and compassionate. The court may well have had its hands tied, and my main quarrel is with the legislation itself. There is no need for this distasteful law. What we need is an efficient system of deporting failed asylum seekers. If, after exhausting all the appeal channels, it is settled that someone’s case for asylum is unfounded, a quick deportation is in all circumstances better than precipitating their destitution and rupturing their families. A care home should be a place of refuge for a child facing problems at home. In the eyes of this Government, it is a latter-day poorhouse the threat of which should force parents to toe the line. This is unacceptable. That a civilised country can legislate to pauperise, showing utter contempt for family life, is nothing short of disgraceful.
You are viewing a post on Bel's old site. Click here to find this post on the new site.



Post a Comment

<< Home