Treatment of asylum seekers coming to the UK falls “seriously below” the standards of a civilised society

The UK’s asylum system is “marred by inhumanity” and “not yet fit for purpose”, the most comprehensive study ever conducted into its workings has found.A report published today by the Independent Asylum Commission found the treatment of asylum seekers coming to this country fell “seriously below” the standards of a civilised society.

The year-long study of the work of the Border and Immigration Agency, led by former appeal court judge Sir John Waite, said the system denied sanctuary to some in need and failed to remove others who should go.

It called the treatment of some asylum seekers a “blemish” on the UK’s international reputation.

The Border and Immigration Agency has refuted the report, claiming it operated a “firm but humane” system.

The commission was established in 2006 after the then home secretary John Reid branded the immigration system “unfit for purpose”.

It took testimonies from every sector of society, including former home secretaries, policy makers, charities, asylum seekers, police, local authorities, and citizens.

The findings highlighted three particular areas of concern: the use of detention centres, especially to hold children, pregnant women and torture victims; the often brutal handling of removals; and the use of destitution as a tool to drive claimants out of the country.

Waite said: “The overuse of detention, the scale of destitution and the severity of removals are all areas which need attention before the system can be described as fit for purpose”.

Commenting on the common practice of locking up refugees, the report said: “The detention of asylum seekers is overused, oppressive and an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer,” and branded the detention of children “wholly unjustified”.



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