Rishi Sunak’s government has been accused of “extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the UK” by the United Nations refugee agency after the introduction of a contentious new law to stop small boats from crossing the Channel.
In an unusually critical statement, the UNHCR said: “The legislation, if passed, would amount to an asylum ban – extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom for those who arrive irregularly, no matter how genuine and compelling their claim may be.
“The effect of the bill [in this form] would be to deny protection to many asylum seekers in need of safety and protection, and even deny them the opportunity to put forward their case.”, UNHCR said. More than 3,000 have already made the journey so far this year.
Home Office figures show 197 made the crossing on Monday – the first arrivals since 24 February – taking the total to date to 3,150, the Guardian reported.