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UN worried about British immigration law: Refugees' rights are being blown up

UN worried about British immigration law: Refugees' rights are being blown

The United Nations human rights chief said he has formally conveyed his concerns about a new migration law to the British government, saying he was worried it would stop people from seeking asylum.

Stopping small boat arrivals across the Channel from France is a priority for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Illegal Migration Bill was passed by the lower house of parliament in April.

If approved by the House of Lords, it would allow the detention and rapid deportation of those arriving by boat home or to so-called safe third countries such as Rwanda.

"We have very serious concerns from an international refugee law and from an international human rights law perspective because it (the bill) would essentially stop people from seeking asylum in the UK if they come in a way certain," UN High Commissioner for Humanity Volker Türk said in Geneva.

It is the UN rights chief's job to communicate with governments about their perceived failings, but some rights experts told Reuters it is less common for Western democracies to receive formal reprimands.

A spokesman at the British diplomatic mission in Geneva said: "We continue to engage with the High Commissioner on Illegal Migration Bill", adding that it was confident his policies, including the plan to deport migrants to Rwanda, were legal. and were in line with the UN Refugee Convention.

The legal rights of refugees are enshrined in a 1951 refugee convention, ratified by Britain and about 150 other countries.

"Now what I see is that the framework has been blown up," Türk added.

In the same interview, Türk said the new US immigration rules will make it "very difficult" for people to seek asylum at the border. But he praised the Biden administration for working to create safe and orderly roads.

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