Pro IQRA News Updates.
The United Nations children’s agency on Friday joined critics of a proposed British law aimed at stopping migrants arriving by small boats, saying it was “deeply concerned” about its impact on minors.
Jon Sparkes, UK director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, said the bill could deny children and families the chance to seek safety in the UK.
“For almost all children fleeing conflict and persecution, there is no safe and legal route into the UK,” Sparkes said.
The bill, introduced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s conservative government, plans to ban people who have arrived in the country illegally from seeking asylum.
Instead, they will be detained and sent to a third country deemed safe.
Exceptions would be made for minors, but only if they were unaccompanied.
Sparkes said the bill was published without an assessment of its impact on children, leaving many critical questions unanswered.
“It is not clear how this Bill will be compatible with existing UK authorities’ obligations to act in the best interests of the child, and it is doubtful whether the removal of a child to a third country, after a dangerous journey to the UK, could ever be within their best interest,” he said.
He called on the UK government “to make clear as a matter of urgency how it intends to ensure the safety and well-being of children with this bill, and how it will respect its obligations in the defense of children’s rights”.
More than 45,000 migrants arrived in Britain last year by crossing the English Channel on small boats.
According to official figures, 17 per cent of people who took the Channel route to the UK since 2018 are minors.
“UNICEF UK argues that the creation of safe and legal roads must be part of any compassionate and effective response to reducing the use of unsafe roads,” added Sparkes.
Other UN bodies have also criticized the planned new law.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said it “would be at odds with the country’s obligations” on human rights and refugee law – a claim denied by London.
Illegal immigration was on the agenda last Friday during Sunak’s visit to Paris.