Syria refugees: former judges condemn government response
Hundreds of prominent lawyers, four former law lords and five retired court of appeal judges have united in an unprecedented move to condemn the prime minister’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis as “deeply inadequate”.
In a letter to David Cameron signed by, among others, the former president of the supreme court, Lord Phillips, and the ex- president of the European Court of Human Rights, Sir Nicolas Bratza, they describe the government’s offer to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years as “too low, too slow and too narrow”.
The legal profession’s statement calls for the UK, with other EU states, to urgently set up secure legal routes and a system of humanitarian visas so refugees are not forced to risk their lives at the hands of human smugglers.
Former appeal court judge Sir Stephen Sedley said “it is within the UK’s power to curtail the lethal boat traffic by enabling refugees from countries such as Syria and Iraq to travel here lawfully in order to apply for asylum… our government’s present offer… is wholly inadequate. As a stable and prosperous country, we can do better than this”.
The letter recommends the Dublin agreement , which dictates asylum seekers must remain where they first arrive, has become dysfunctional. It argues reception facilities in countries like Greece and Italy have collapsed and the regulations should be suspended.
Former law lord Walker said “the EU’s Dublin accord is proving to be against the spirit of the refugee convention and an obstacle to dealing with the crisis effectively and humanely…”
In September the prime minister described the decision to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees as the country fulfilling its moral responsibility.
Follow @simonisrael on Twitter