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Asylum Seekers: British Government Propose Offshore Centres

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UK’s Home Secretary, Ms. Priti Patel is expected to present a new legislation next week which concerns sending asylum seekers overseas to offshore centres as they await for their application for protection to be processed in UK. The aim of this Bill is to combat human trafficking and deter migrants from the dangerous crossing across the English Channel. As such, any plan designed by UK’s Home Office and the government will ensure the protection of the migrants as per international standards.

The offshore centre was initially proposed to be established in the Ascension Island but following recent developments, Africa seems to be the new destination being considered by the British government. It has been reported that the British government is looking into the immigration policies of both Denmark and Australia to ensure the proper setting up of their centers. It is interesting to note that as per the immigration policy of Australia, asylum seekers travelling by sea are banned and sent to neighboring states such as Papua New Guinea.

However, the government has faced some backlash over this proposed legislation. Several human rights activists and other concerned parties have raised various issues, namely that migrants would not be within UK’s human rights’ protection. This has further been supported by Rossella Pagliuchui-Lor, UN Refugee Agency’s representative to the UK who said that the “forced transfers of people to other countries with inadequate protection safeguards and resources… risk a breach of international refugee and human rights obligations.

It remains to be seen how has the British government been able to structure its offshore centers to ensure that asylum seekers will be protected pending the approval for their application whilst combating human trafficking and dissuading migrants from this dangerous journey to UK.

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