UK Border Forces Could Receive Immunity from Refugee Deaths
October 20 2021
Cited article by Rajeev Syal, The Guardian
The UK Home Secretary is currently seeking protections for border forces should refugees drown during the course of their duties, a measure that would attempt to provide immunity from international maritime law. This comes as a response to conservative pressure due to rising refugee numbers, which have doubled since 2020.
This provision is part of a bill that seeks to make the UK asylum process fairer, and deter illegal entry to the UK through harsher laws against those attempting to enter, as well as their families. It should be noted that while this bill does seek to prevent border forces from being prosecuted for deaths of refugees, there is specific criteria in which they would be exempt and are still expected to make every reasonable effort to assist.
HRRC is concerned by the measures in this bill which create protections for officials due to refugee deaths. Additionally, there is significant concern in attempting to further criminalize and penalize refugees, who are already taking extreme measures to protect themselves and their families. Further criminalization of people in desperate situations can only lead to further harm and loss of life.