Refugee groups slam government’s ‘ever more punitive’ stand on asylum

National charity Refugee Action has accused the government of
introducing “ever more punitive measures” to deter asylum seekers
from coming to the UK, after a series of developments.

Despite the High Court ruling challenging the legality of section
55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 this week,
the Home Office remained firm in its determination to deny support
to those who fail to apply for asylum immediately on arrival.

The Refugee Council welcomed the High Court ruling and said it was
“appalling” that people seeking sanctuary in the UK are forced into

About 2,000 asylum seekers are being recalled by the National
Asylum Support Service (Nass) for another section 55 interview to
determine whether they are entitled to support while their asylum
application is being processed. The Home Office placed the group in
emergency accommodation while it revised its procedures on section
55 after Appeal Court advice in March.

The recall follows Mr Justice Kay’s High Court ruling that three
asylum seekers had suffered “inhuman and degrading treatment” when
they had to sleep rough as a result of a lack of support from Nass.

A Refugee Action spokesperson said Nass had allowed the charity to
place 400 of the 2,000 in emergency accommodation. Ninety have been
called for interviews and just 12 have received positive outcomes,
with 78 denied support. There is no right of appeal against this
decision. Asylum seekers denied Nass support can still apply for
asylum, but the charity spokesperson said: “How do you run an
asylum claim from a park bench?”

But Mr Justice Kay warned that not everyone refused support could
rely on article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which
governs inhuman treatment, as some may have access to charitable
funds or support and others are more resilient and resourceful.

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