AMNESTY INTERNATIONALl has responded critically to news that the Home Secretary is seeking powers to send people seeking asylum in the UK to be processed in an offshore hub.

Tom Davies, Refugees Campaign Manager at Amnesty International UK, said: “It appears yet again, the Home Office plans to make unworkable laws, spend huge amounts of taxpayers’ money and take a shockingly cruel approach to people seeking asylum.

“The UK receives very few people seeking asylum and yet the government continues this utterly reckless discussion about finding another country to carry out its responsibilities.

“If true, this move would be extremely damaging and will give a green light to other countries to also shirk their responsibility. The UK has an international obligation to provide a safe haven for those fleeing conflict and persecution.

“Ministers must put an end to this and instead commit to ensuring that people who seek asylum in this country are properly supported, and their claims dealt with fully, fairly and efficiently.”

Also responding, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS UK) condemned the plans  as cruel, ineffective and impractical. Sarah Teather, Director of JRS UK said: “Proposals for the offshore detention of people seeking asylum are gratuitously cruel. Offshore detention has produced a brutal catalogue of human suffering in other places it is practised. And additionally, this would be expensive and inefficient. It represents a determination to build walls against vulnerable people seeking sanctuary, whatever the cost.”

In Australia, asylum seekers travelling by sea are redirected to offshore immigration accommodation centres in neighbouring states. It is widely accepted by experts that the Australian model is ineffective and inhumane, with well documented testimonies and experiences from those who have been held there.

* More information and resources here.

* Sources: Amnesty International and Jesuit Refugee Service UK