JOINT CIVIL SOCIETY SOLIDARITY STATEMENT ON THE ILLEGAL MIGRATION BILL
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As a coalition of 176 civil society organisations representing the human rights, migrant, refugee, asylum, anti-slavery and trafficking, children’s, violence against women and girls, LGBTQI+, disability rights, health, LGBTQI+, housing, racial justice, criminal justice, arts, international development, environment, democracy, pan-equality, faith, access to justice, and other sectors, we call on Parliamentarians to urge the Government to immediately withdraw the ‘Illegal Migration Bill’.
We all deserve to live safe from harm and to be treated with compassion, dignity, and respect. But this shockingly cruel and inhumane Bill turns our country’s back on people fleeing war and persecution, blocking them from protection, support, or justice at a time they need it most.
The Bill is effectively a ban on asylum, extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom. It will put people seeking safety and a better life at risk of irreversible harm, with life and death consequences.
This Bill attacks the very core of human rights, which is the fundamental belief that we all have human rights regardless of who we are or where we are from. Instead, it separates people into categories of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ of human rights. In stripping the most basic rights from people seeking safety and a better life, the Bill dismantles human rights protections for all of us.
The Bill deliberately and unacceptably excludes an entire category of people from the protections guaranteed under our domestic laws and international obligations. It will almost certainly breach multiple international conventions and agreements, including the UN Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (ECAT). The Government has acknowledged that it cannot guarantee the Bill will be compatible with the ECHR, a legally binding instrument.
The Convention represents the rights and values that we hold dear, including the right to life, protection from slavery and torture, and the right to liberty, which are all threatened by this Bill.
Not only does the Bill substantially threaten human rights, it aims to shield the Government from accountability when it does violate those rights by reducing parliamentary and judicial scrutiny.
The Bill includes the unprecedented and alarming proposal to disapply Section 3 of the Human Rights Act, which empowers our judges to interpret laws in a way that protects our rights. Without that protection, individuals affected by this Bill are limited from getting justice when their rights are violated.
The Bill hands vast delegated powers to the Secretary of State, including the power to amend laws in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, despite the fact that human rights are largely a devolved matter. The Bill would also enable Ministers to ignore interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights – a rare yet vital last resort to halt proceedings like deportations when people’s lives are deemed at risk of extreme and irreversible harm.
This Bill would almost certainly be unlawful domestically and internationally. The Bill signals to the international community that the Government intends to commit human rights abuses while evading scrutiny and accountability, setting a dangerous example to other states.
More importantly, these cruel and inhumane plans are a stain on our collective moral conscience, attacking the values we cherish as a democratic, rights-respecting society. This Bill is a dangerous piece of legislation that will most certainly lead to irreparable harm, grave suffering, and possible deaths if enacted.
We stand united in solidarity with the individuals and families who would be directly harmed, and oppose the Government’s divisive attacks on refugees migrants, victims and survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery, and other people who move. We fiercely reject any attempts to undermine the universality of human rights.
We urge all Parliamentarians to urge the Government to withdraw the Bill.
1. Danielle Roberts, Senior Policy and Development Officer, Here NI 2. Andrea Cleaver, CEO, Welsh Refugee Council 3. Paul Hook, Director, Asylum Matters 4. Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, National AIDS Trust 5. Saqib Deshmukh, Interim CEO, Alliance for Youth Justice 6. Deborah Coles, Executive Director, INQUEST 7. Chris Jones, Director, Statewatch 8. Declan Owens, Co-Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers 9. Declan Owens, CEO, Ecojustice Ireland 10. David Weaver, Chair, OBV 11. Lee Jasper, Co-Founder, Blaksox 12. Jess McQuail, Director, Just Fair 13. Emma Hutton, CEO, JustRight Scotland 14. Chloe Trew, Director, Participation and the Practice of Rights 15. Jonathan Senker, CEO, VoiceAbility 16. Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, Humanists UK 17. Tim Naor Hilton, Chief Executive, Refugee Action 18. Victoria Marks, Director, ATLEU 19. Clare Moseley, Chair, Care4Calais 20. Susanna Revolti, CEO, Borderlands 21. Mauricio Silva, IRD Coordinator, Columbans in Britain 22. Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, René Cassin, the Jewish voice for human rights 23. Amber Bauer, CEO, forRefugees 24. Lucy Nabijou, Coordinator, Haringey Welcome 25. Jane Lees, CEO, CommunityWorks 26. Ruhi Akhtar, CEO, Refugee Biriyani & Bananas 27. Naabil Khan, Volunteer Coordinator, STAR Exeter 28. Jeremy Thompson, Manager, Restore (a project of Birmingham Churches Together) 29. Miranda Reilly, Director, The Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees 30. Aisling Playford, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Rainbow Project 31. Toni Soni, Centre Director, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre 32. Suleiman Abdulahi, Managing Director, Horn of Africa People’s Aid Northern Ireland 33. Jabbar Hasan, Director, Iraqi Association 34. Jeannie Tweedie, Co-Director, Elmbridge CAN 35. Kayte Cable and Vicki Felgate, Co-Founders, Big Leaf Foundation 36. Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO, African Rainbow Family 37. Sampson Low, Head of Policy, UNISON 38. Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women’s Rights Service 39. Aderonke Apata, Founder and Chairperson, Manchester Migrant Solidarity 40. Sue Lacey, Founder, Together100 41. Eleni Venaki, Director, The Comfrey Project 42. Karen Pearse, Director, Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers 43. Amos Schonfield, CEO, Our Second Home 44. Chloe Crowther, Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers Campaign 45. Tom Brake, Director, Unlock Democracy 46. Sebastian Rocca, Founder and CEO, Micro Rainbow 47. Sheila Mosley, Steering Group member, Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network – QARN 48. Mel Steel, Director, Voices in Exile 49. Ewan Roberts, CEO, Asylum Link Merseyside 50. William Gomes, Director, The William Gomes Podcast 51. Dr Razia Shariff, CEO, Kent Refugee Action Network 52. Andrea Simon, Director, End Violence Against Women Coalition 53. Emily Crowley, Chief Executive, Student Action for Refugees (STAR) 54. Tamsin Cook, Co-Artistic Director, Mafwa Theatre 55. Rose Caldwell, CEO, Plan International UK 56. Isobel Ingham-Barrow, CEO, Community Policy Forum 57. Clare Moody, Co-CEO, Equally Ours 58. Sadia Sikandar, Advisory Board, West End Refugee Services 59. Rosie MacPherson, Artistic Director & Joint CEO, Stand & Be Counted Theatre 60. Efi Stathopoulou, Programmes Manager, Refugee Legal Support 61. Ros Gowers, Coordinator, Evesham Vale Welcomes Refugees 62. Margaret Lennon, Director, Bridges Programmes 63. Daniel Boyle, Senior Parliamentary and Policy Officer, BEMIS Scotland 64. Elayne Hill, CEO, Central England Law Centre 65. Angus Clark, Chief Executive, Herts for Refugees 66. Liz Needham, Chair of Trustees, St Albans for Refugees 67. Jean-Pierre Moussally, community councillor of the agglomeration of Grand Calais Terres & Mers, EELV (French Green Party) 68. Nancy Kelley, CEO, Stonewall 69. Juliet Harris, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), Director 70. Shameem Ahmad, CEO, Public Law Project 71. Emma Ginn, Director, Medical Justice 72. Pete Ritchie, Director, Nourish Scotland 73. Fraser Sutherland, Chief Executive, Humanist Society Scotland 74. Alexandra Lopoukhine, Interim Executive Director, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants 75. Georgina Fletcher, Chief Officer, Regional Refugee Forum North East 76. Catharine Walston, Trustee, Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign 77. Catharine Walston, Chair of Executive, Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group 78. Rev Peta Evans, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of North London 79. Jenni Regan, CEO, IMIX 80. Bridget Young, Director, NACCOM 81. Andrew Jackson, Chief Executive, Upbeat Communities 82. Sarah Fenby-Dixon, trustee, Refugee Aid Network 83. Kat Lorenz, Director, Asylum Support Appeals Project 84. Mhairi Snowden, Director, Human Rights Consortium Scotland 85. National Committee, Women for Independence 86. Will Sutcliffe, Chair, Bradford City of Sanctuary 87. Charles Dobson, Chairman, Skipton Refugee Support Group 88. Angie Pedley Co-ordinator, Craven Refugee Support Network 89. Angie Pedley, Co-ordinator, Craven District of Sanctuary 90. Robert Rae, Co-Director, Art27 Scotland 91. Amanda Jones, CEO, Shropshire Supports Refugees 92. Amy Lythgoe, Trustee, Together Now 93. Zara Mohammed, Secretary-General, Muslim Council of Britain 94. Maggie Pearse, Chair, BIASAN (Bradford Immigration and Asylum Support and Advice Network) 95. Daniel Tsz Kin Kwok, Director, The Hong Kong Scots CIC 96. Gail Heath, CEO, Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid) 97. Steve Newman, Chair, FODI (Friends of the Drop In for asylum seekers and refugees, Sunderland) 98. Alphonsine Kabagabo, Director, Women for Refugee Women 99. Tim Hopkins, Director, Equality Network 100. Gill Tipping, Co-chair, Lewes Organisation in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (LOSRAS) 101. Lilian Geijsen, European Director, Ben & Jerry’s 102. Sian Summers-Rees, Chief Officer, City of Sanctuary UK 103. Chloe Wolfe, Charity Manager, Swindon City of Sanctuary 104. Helen Hodgson, Operations Director, Hope at Home 105. Lisa Norcross, Project and Fundraising Manager, Kairos Housing 106. Alan Gray, Chair, Forth Valley Migrant Support Network 107. Amanda Church-Mcfarlane, Co-CEO, Abigail Housing 108. Clare Campbell, Operations Manager, Walking With in North Tyneside 109. Stroud District Together With Refugees 110. Martha Spurrier, Director, Liberty 111. Nick Beales, Head of Campaigns, RAMFEL 112. Revd Jide Macaulay, Chief Executive Officer, House of Rainbow CIC 113. Lade Olugbemi, The Nous Organisation 114. Sandy Brindley, Chief Executive, Rape Crisis Scotland 115. Dennis Carney, Chair, Black Connection 116. Ros Holland, Chief Exec, Boaz Trust 117. Ted Britton, Chair of Trustees, WYDAN 118. Gwen Hines, Chief Executive, Save the Children 119. Jamie Balfour-Paul, Founder, Magic for Smiles 120. Avril Sharp, Policy Officer, Kalayaan 121. Dania Thomas, Director, Ubuntu Women Shelter 122. Mark Courtice, Chair of Trustees, Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group 123. Agnes Tolmie, Chair, The Scottish Women’s Convention 124. Kate Alexander, Director, Scottish Detainee Visitors 125. Simon Tyler, Director, Doctors of the World 126. Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive, Amnesty International UK 127. Dr. Patrick Roach, General Secretary, NASUWT 128. James Wilson, Director, Detention Action 129. Anna Lewis, CEO, Open Door North East 130. Simon Cheng, Director, Hongkongers in Britain 131. Jane Grimshaw, Convenor Hastings Supports Refugees 132. Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centres Network 133. Sattinder Collins, Chair, Tees Valley of Sanctuary 134. Elizabeth Long, Partnerships, Refugee, Asylum seeker & Migrant Action (RAMA) 135. Stephanie Neville, Project Manager, Stories of Hope and Home 136. Alison Pickup, Director, Asylum Aid 137. Kerry Smith, CEO, Helen Bamber Foundation 138. Ailsa Dunn Secretary Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees 139. Reverend Gerard Goshawk, Minister, Six Ways Erdington Baptist Church 140. Clare Henry, Management Committee, Exeter City of Sanctuary 141. Hayley Nelson BEM, Director, Learn for Life Enterprise 142. Sanchita Hosali, CEO, The British Institute of Human Rights 143. Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain 144. Clarissa Hanna, Chair, Faversham and Villages Refugee Solidarity Group 145. Dr Judith Turbyne, Chief Executive, Children in Scotland 146. Lucila Granada, CEO, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) 147. Marguerite Hunter Blair CEO Play Scotland 148. Fizza Qureshi, CEO, Migrants’ Rights Network 149. Robert Moore, Company Secretary, North Wales Regional Equality Network 150. Mark Kieran, CEO, Open Britain 151. Griff Ferris, Senior legal and policy officer, Fair Trials 152. Kris Harris, Policy Coordinator, Project 17 153. Debbie Ariyo OBE, CEO AFRUCA Safeguarding Children 154. Debbie Ariyo OBE, Chair BASNET 155. Pierre Makhlouf, Legal Director, Bail for Immigration Detainees 156. Chris Minnoch, CEO, Legal Aid Practitioners Group 157. Owen Temple, Chair, No To Hassockfield 158. Sneh Aurora, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) 159. Jim McCormick, Chief Executive, The Robertson Trust 160. John Good, Acting CEO, ActionAid UK 161. Suzanne Swinton, Chief Executive, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance 162. Danny Sriskandarajah, CEO, Oxfam GB 163. Hugh Knowles and Miriam Turner, Co-Executive Directors, Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) 164. Donna-Louise Cobban, CEO, Beyond Detention 165. James Pearson, Director of Policy & Practice, Alzheimer Scotland 166. Yo Dunn, Director, National Autistic Taskforce 167. Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council 168. Rev Caz Hague, Methodist Minister, Birmingham Circuit 169. Steve Cooke Chair Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity 170. Katrina Ffrench, Founder and Managing Director, UNJUST 171. Dr Shabna Begum, Director of Research, Runnymede Trust. 172. Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director, Human Rights Watch 173. Kamran Mallick, CEO, Disability Rights UK 174. Rosalind Stevens, Project Manager, Civil Society Alliance 175. Jasmine Mohammad, Safety4Sisters Northwest 176. Patricia Durr, CEO, ECPAT UK