The court of appeal has ruled that a destitute asylum seeker who
slept at Heathrow airport was not entitled to government support
from the National Asylum Support Service, writes Clare
The asylum seeker, referred to as
‘T’, slept rough at the airport in west London for over
a month in March this year. Yet Lord Justice Kennedy said that it
was impossible to find that his condition “had reached or was
verging on the inhuman or the degrading” as he had shelter,
sanitary facilities and some money for food.
The appeal follows Mr Justice Kay’s
ruling in July that the human rights of three asylum seekers had
been breached when they were forced to sleep rough after being
denied NASS support under section 55 of the Nationality,
Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
Inhuman and degrading treatment under article
three of the European Convention of Human Rights could include
“sleeping rough, begging for food or money with which to buy
it and the fear, humiliation and physical and mental suffering that
soon ensues” he ruled.
The home office launched an immediate appeal.
However it conceded two of the cases and just the case of
‘T’ was heard this week.
Welcoming the judgement, home office minister
Beverley Hughes said: “This judgement helps clarify where, in
deciding Article 3 considerations, the threshold lies and that a
claim of destitution will not necessarily be a deciding