They so desperately want to say that all those paddling across the Channel have a perfect right to do so. So, they tell us this:
A popular myth circulated by those opposed to refugees coming to the UK is that people seeking safety in Europe must claim asylum in the first “safe” country they land in.
Under the rules set out by the UN Refugee Convention, which the UK joined in the early 1950s, there is no obligation for asylum seekers to do so.
Full Fact, an organisation that examines and debunks false information, states that UK case law supports this interpretation of UN rules – meaning asylum seekers can pass through other safe countries before making a claim.
Just because a European country such as France or Italy is often perceived as safe for most people, it doesn’t mean that’s necessarily true for asylum seekers – individuals could face any number of dangerous situations we can know nothing about without proper examination of their case.
In 2011 the European Court of Human Rights upheld an asylum seeker from Afghanistan’s right to seek asylum in Belgium after he claimed he was at risk in Greece due to deficiencies in the nation’s asylum process.
Those reasons why they might not so claim in that first place are, of course, reasons why those places might not be safe places. Which is not quite a rejection of the idea that they must claim in the first safe place now, is it?
But what really gorges the choler is that by following their own links to their own supporting evidence we get to this:
Migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats are overwhelmingly genuine refugees, senior Home Office officials have confirmed. Evidence presented to the Home Affairs committee of MPs on 3 September makes clear that the majority of those making the perilous crossing are either being granted refugee status straight away or come from countries for which the success rate in asylum applications is extremely high.
Figures on small boat crossings are not routinely published, but the Home Office keeps tabs. Senior official Abi Tierney told the committee that 5,000 people have crossed the Channel in small boats so far this year. Of those, 98% have claimed asylum. The Home Office has issued an initial decision on around half of those asylum claims so far.
The breakdown of those roughly 2,500 decisions is as follows:
20% of those have been granted, 10% have been refused and a further 71% have been refused because we are not the responsible country, i.e., they have travelled through a safe country before they came here.
Tierney’s colleague Tyson Hepple, head of Immigration Enforcement, later clarified that the 71% are not being refused in the sense that the Home Office thinks they are not genuine refugees. The department just believes that another European country has the legal responsibility for deciding whether they should be granted asylum or not.
So, err, for the vast majority the UK is not the place they should be claiming asylum, rather, some other safe place they’ve been in before is. Which was the original contention the Huffington Post is trying to refute through their casuistry.
Both lions and flamethrowers I think.