Published: 10 May 2023
We have published a briefing ahead of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Illegal Migration Bill (10 May).
We remain seriously concerned about the potential implications of the Bill on human rights and the safety of individuals.
Clause 53, as amended in the House of Commons, gives a Minister the power to determine whether a person should be removed from the country, even if the European Court of Human Rights has indicated that they cannot be removed immediately.
Protections, known as interim measures, are put in place to prevent harm while a case is being heard. Not adhering to them could result in a breach of the UK's obligations under Article 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights and cause harm to the individuals involved.
The EHRC is also concerned that the Bill risks undermining the core principle of the universality of human rights, as well as breaching international legal obligations to protect human rights, including the right to asylum and the legal principle known as non-refoulement which guarantees that no one should be returned to a country where they would likely suffer torture or other irreversible harm.
The provisions allowing detention of children and pregnant women, and removing protections for victims of trafficking and modern slavery are also of concern.
We welcome the Government’s commitment to increasing safe, regular routes to the UK for those in need of asylum, and continue to recommend that these measures are brought forward alongside the Bill.
Careful consideration should also be given to the impact of the Bill on different groups with protected characteristics, including children, women (including pregnant women), disabled people, torture survivors, and trafficked individuals.
We are urging the Government to take effective and rights-compliant action to prevent further loss of life on dangerous Channel crossings.
Read our full briefing: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/legal-responses/parliamentary-briefings