Up to 500 “victims of terror” will be able to claim asylum in the
UK in the first year of a new United Nations-backed scheme unveiled
by home secretary David Blunkett.
In an apparent attempt to placate criticism of the government’s
hard line stance on asylum, Blunkett said the scheme would start
soon with the UN nominating victims of the Liberian civil war for
He said the government’s “balanced” approach on asylum – including
the UN scheme – would help to reduce illegal trafficking. But he
added that the claimants would be well received only if there was
an effective system to process claims.
“I believe this country will welcome those from across the world if
they know that we can be trusted, they are confident in its
administration and they know we are seeing off organised
criminals,” Blunkett said.
He added that the government was “committed” to Britain’s tradition
of providing a safe haven for those fleeing persecution.
But he refused to back down over controversial plans to introduce
stringent penalties for perpetrators of antisocial behaviour,
explaining that it was not an attack on civil liberties but an
attempt to improve the safety of communities.
Blunkett said the Antisocial Behaviour Bill, which is due to
receive royal assent in November, would “empower the police, give
more support through parenting orders and help rebuild trust and
respect in communities”.
He added that more intensive community supervision orders would be
issued. Where parents showed they did not care about the behaviour
of their children it would be seen as the government’s
responsibility to intervene to protect the fabric of communities.
He criticised the Liberal Democrats for voting against the
Antisocial Behaviour Bill as “breathtaking” and an indication that
they “stand behind the human rights of the perpetrators”.
Blunkett also vowed to tackle the “scourge” of hard drugs and “get
a grip” on the organised gangs of criminals involved in selling