Making asylum seekers work for housing breaches human rights

The government’s proposal for failed asylum seekers who
are unable to return home to carry out community work in order to
qualify for accommodation could breach the European Convention on
Human Rights, peers and MPs have warned this week,
writes Amy Taylor.

A report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights also criticised
the government for tabling amendments to the Asylum and Immigration
(Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill, now in its final stages,
without adequate warning or a clear explanation of ministers’
view of the human rights implications.

It accuses the government of undermining the proper democratic
scrutiny of the human rights implications of legislation in its

Peers and MPs state that there is a “significant risk”
that refusing or withdrawing housing to a failed asylum seeker who
is unable to return to their own country on the grounds that they
refuse to do community work will be in breach of Article 3 ECHR.
This states that no one should be subjected to “inhuman or
degrading treatment”.

The government recently lost its appeal against a High Court ruling
that being made destitute as a result of denial of state support
may breach of Article 3.

However, the committee’s report states that the
government’s proposal for refugees to only be eligible for
social housing in the areas they have been dispersed to is unlikely
to breach Article 8 of the ECHR, which states that everyone has the
right to a private and family life, as long as refugees are also
allowed to apply for housing in the area where he has family

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