What You Need To Know About The Party Pledges for Refugees
Labour define ‘refugees’ as ‘victims of wars, environmental catastrophes, famine or persecution’. They pledge to uphold their rights to seek asylum and to meet any legal obligations under international law. There is a slight disconnect here as international law on refugees is not yet generally considered to apply to victims of environmental catastrophes or famine. However the intention seems clear; to support all refugees to claim asylum.
Labour commit to working with others to resume rescue missions in the Mediterranean, to co-operating with the French authorities to put an end to the current ‘camps’, and to establishing safe and legal routes for asylum seekers, although no detail is given on this.
They say that once in the UK, refugees will have the right to work, access to public services and will be treated humanely by government at all levels. They also commit to ending indefinite detention and reviewing the inhumane conditions of detention centres.
Labour commit to putting human rights, international law and tackling climate change at the heart of its international policies. They say they will appoint human-rights advisers to work across the Foreign Office and government to prioritise a coordinated approach to human rights.
Particular commitments include immediate suspension of the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, and to Israel for use in violation of the human rights of Palestinian civilians and to conducting a reform of the arms export regime.
The Conservatives consider the vote to leave the EU a vote to ‘take back control of our borders’. Their manifesto is focussed on top line immigration with only the very briefest mention of refugees, whom they have the ultimate aim of ‘returning home if it is safe to do so’.
They plan to introduce an Australian-style points-based immigration system, so that decisions over immigration will be based on skills and most people will need a job offer to come to the UK to work.
The Conservatives set out how significant cost savings will be made by removing the ability for EU migrants to access benefits in the UK. Migrants from outside the EU (including most refugees) are already unable to claim these benefits.
A further £20 million will be spent on border security.
They make a general commitment to tackling racism and championing tolerance.
The Conservatives pledge to do more to help countries who receive aid become self-sufficient.
Resettling 10,000 vulnerable refugees each year and a further 10,000 unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in Europe over the next ten years and expanding family reunion rights.
Giving asylum seekers the right to work three months after they have applied.
Make immigration detention a last resort, introduce a 28-day time limit on detention and closing seven of the UK’s nine detention centres.
Offer asylum to people fleeing the risk of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identification.
Move asylum policymaking from the Home Office to the Department for International Development and establish a dedicated unit to improve decision-making.
The Lib Dems commit to standing up for human rights by championing the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The also pledge to suspend UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to their consistent targeting of civilians, in breach of international humanitarian law, in Yemen.
The Green Party
The Green Party pledge to end the hostile environment which they say puts migrants at risk and increases racism and anti-immigrant sentiment. Specifically, they commit to a range of measures including:
- ending indefinite detention and closing immigration detention centres
- allowing refugees the right to work whilst their applications are considered.
- guaranteeing safe access to services such as the police, health and education, without fear of being subject to immigration enforcement
The Greens propose to close the Home Office and instead create a ‘Ministry for Sanctuary’ which will be responsible for enforcing migration rules with ‘compassion and due regard for human rights’.
The Green Party propose to phase in an increase in spending on foreign aid from 0.7% to 1% of our GNI however, they do not comment on the key issue that currently much of this spending is diverted to preventing migration rather than saving lives and preventing harm, which should be the objective of foreign aid spending.
They also commit to campaigning to re-establish a European sea-rescuing mission to operate in European waters.
The Greens pledge to close down the government’s arms sales activities and end all subsidies and support for the UK arms industry’s exporting of weapons and systems that fuel conflicts, violence and suffering across the world.