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UNA-UK Response To The Illegal Migration Bill

The Illegal Migration Bill or the ‘’small boats legislation’’ aims to stop boats crossing over the canal by criminalising any entry to the UK before receiving official Visa or asylum status.

UNA-UK is urging the House of Lords and the parliament to oppose the bill.

The Illegal Migration Bill presented in March exposes refugees to a heightened risk of exploitation and would foster increased possibility for traffickers to exploit refugees. If the Bill passes, it could sever the UK from its commitments to the UN Refugee Convention, refuse victims of modern slavery support, and in some cases detain them.

The Bill also undercuts Scotlands Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act (2015), as well as Scotland’s human rights based approach to welcoming refugees and combatting trafficking as outlined in the consequent Trafficking and Exploitation strategy adopted in 2017.

"UNA-UK is gravely concerned that the proposed Illegal Migration Bill undermines human rights and refugee law, depriving asylum-seekers of their inalienable human rights, and worryingly undermines the UK’s credibility as a champion of our rules-based international order. We urge MPs and Lords to oppose this Bill - the Government must bring its policies in line with international legal standards and agreements."

- Official UNA-UK statement

The Bill furthermore feeds into the harmful narrative that human trafficking and modern slavery are immigration issues, and can be dealt with through strict immigration laws. As the UN Refugee Agency has pointed out, these policies encourage trafficking and insult human rights.

Therefore it is imperative that the Illegal Migration Bill does not pass at Westminster, and we must all share information on this to keep both Westminster and Holyrood on track.

To read the full UNA-UK statement, click here.

To learn about the work of the UN House Scotland Human Trafficking Team, click here.

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