Campaigners have heavily criticised the Conservative
party’s proposals for a combined annual quota on the number
of refugees and immigrants allowed to settle in Britain,
writes Amy Taylor.
The party’s plans to withdraw from the 1951 United Nations
Refugee Convention were also condemned.
Speaking in London, the party’s leader Michael Howard said
that a quota was necessary as “immigration cannot continue at
its present uncontrolled levels.” He explained that the limit
would be determined by economic need, family reunion and the
“moral obligation to genuine refugees.”
But Maeve Sherlock, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said
that the plans failed to contribute or move the asylum debate in
“any constructive way.”
“These proposals quite clearly will not offer refugees a
safe haven in the UK.
“We need separate systems for refugees and for people
coming here to work. An arbitrary limit on all immigration,
including refugees, would put lives at risk and would damage our
economy,” she said.
She added that the UN Refugee Convention saved millions of lives
every year and was an “essential global safety net”
that is reliant on the commitment of all countries in order for it