UN Refugee Agency opposes UK plan to export asylum
Following public announcements made today, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, expressed strong opposition and concerns about the United Kingdom's plan to export its asylum obligations and urged the UK to refrain from transferring asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda for asylum processing.
"UNHCR remains firmly opposed to arrangements that seek to transfer refugees and asylum seekers to third countries in the absence of sufficient safeguards and standards. Such arrangements simply shift asylum responsibilities, evade international obligations, and are contrary to the letter and spirit of the Refugee Convention," said UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs.
"People fleeing war, conflict and persecution deserve compassion and empathy. They should not be traded like commodities and transferred abroad for processing."
UNHCR urged both countries to re-think the plans. It also warned that instead of deterring refugees from resorting to perilous journeys, these externalization arrangements will only magnify risks, causing refugees to seek alternative routes, and exacerbating pressures on frontline states.