Community work ‘may breach rights’

    The government’s proposal for some failed asylum seekers to do
    community work in order to qualify for housing could breach the
    European Convention on Human Rights, peers and MPs have
    warned.

    They say there is a “significant risk” that refusing or withdrawing
    housing to a failed asylum seeker because they refuse to do
    community work will be in breach of the convention. Article 3
    states that no one should be subjected to inhuman or degrading
    treatment.

    The community work plan would apply only to those who cannot return
    to their country of origin.

    However, the proposal for refugees to be eligible for social
    housing only in the areas to which they have been dispersed is
    unlikely to breach their right to a private and family life if they
    are also allowed to apply for housing in areas where they have
    family associations.

    The findings come in a report from the joint committee on human
    rights which also criticises the government for tabling late
    amendments to the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants
    etc) Bill without adequate warning or a clear explanation of
    ministers’ views on the human rights implications.

    Peers passed both amendments in the first part of the bill’s
    committee stage in the House of Lords last week. Further amendments
    were due to be discussed as Community Care went to
    press.

    – Report from
    www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt200304/jtselect/jtrights/130/13002.htm

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