THE current UK politics is dangerous, rather than healthy. The Tories are politicising every societal issue - from the climate crisis to refugees and protesting rights. Those topics have become a political punching bag. Perhaps because they are losing votes and MPs are worried about losing their seats. Voters are now more educated politically; they can read between the lines.

One of the subjects which is tremendously politicised is our human rights, and the right to seek refuge. Of course, people always had different ideas and opinions on this. But all the opinions and ideas were not going as far as those now willing to demolish our human rights. They are willing to compromise almost everything the country has gained since the Second World War and beyond, as long as their seats and their position in the Government are protected.

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When it comes to seeking refuge and claiming asylum here, the UK Government’s cruelty has no border. It seems like it gets crueller every day. As a former asylum seeker, I am worried about my rights and my life, because this UK government is taking pleasure in seeing us in pain. They are trying to make a scary example out of us to deter other refugees from coming to the UK.

But let’s see what the international human right refugee convention says about the right of seeking protection, and compare it to the UK Government’s approach. The phrase refugee is defined in the International Human Rights Act 1951 in the UNHRC.

It defines a refugee as a "person who is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail him — or herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution".

The key words are

  •  “A person who is outside of his or her country of nationality or habitual residence”: Many people are escaping their countries in fear, meaning they have to leave through informal channels.
  • “Has a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, or to return there, for fear of persecution”: The only way to find out if someone has a well-founded fear of being persecuted is by assessing their case. You cannot just guess it. However, the UK Government is planning to say if you have not applied properly in the country, and from the authority that you are facing persecution from, we may consider your case as dismissible.

The current UK Government’s approach is unbelievably unrealistic as they demand, in order for someone to come to the UK, they must come from “legal routes”. That means applying for a visa from their country where they are facing fear and persecution. For example, someone from Iran who is facing the death penalty just because of their political view should not escape Iran; they must apply for a visa that does not even exist.

There is no UK asylum visa. The only way for the person to come to the UK is by taking the dangerous informal route. If the Government really cares about the safety of the people who are taking the dangerous route they would provide safe legal routes, not penalise them after arriving in the UK. It is laughable to say punishing those who already have taken the dangerous route is will somehow save their lives.

The second point is that we now have a speculative government, which assumes people are “economic migrants” without assessing their cases. We also have an ignorant government that ignores its own figure that the majority of asylum seekers claim are successful.

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It is very alarming that the UK Government and its current Home Secretary politicise topics like refugees, because for refugees it’s matter of life or death. I also doubt that she is dreaming about seeing a plane full of refugees heading to Rwanda. I think she dreams about staying in power at any cost, even if the price is her principles and moral value. She seems like a person who would compromise anything for power. But I could be wrong, you may see her reversing the Nationality and Borders Bill, and she may introduce a humane way of treating vulnerable people. She may start reading the Home Office figures out loud, especially those numbers that indicate the vast majority of people claiming asylum are genuine refugees. Who knows? It may happen.

There is hope of course and optimism for refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland. When Scotland becomes independent, hopefully after a referendum in October 2023, there will be an immigration policy based on Nicola Sturgeon’s dream - in which those fleeing war and perception are NOT  treated like wasted products and sent in cargos thousands of miles away from the UK. Instead, Scotland will have a policy in which those who are seeking protection will be treated like human beings with compassion, dignity and respect.