Following reports today that all adults applying for asylum in Britain will be tagged or detained to 'discourage unfounded applications for asylum', Green Euro MP Jean Lambert has warned that such actions will humiliate and deter genuine asylum seekers that really are in need.
Jean Lambert who was named MEP for Justice and Human Rights at the end of last year and is Green MEP for London commented; "The Government case for tracking seems to be based on the belief that many of those claiming asylum know they have no case but continue to take a chance. Tracking asylum seekers will deter those without a valid case, as they will not want to risk being known to the authorities. "Genuine" claimants will, however do anything not to jeopardise their claim including the humiliation of being tagged or detained.
"This reasoning is deeply flawed. It is not illegal to claim asylum but an individual right. We should not treat claimants as criminals, nor should we seek to deter claims as we may deter some with valid claims. Many asylum seekers believe they have a valid case but the authorities disagree: that does not make the claim illegitimate but the decision may be wrong, as there is not an effective system in place to track those who are returned to their country of origin, we cannot tell if we make mistakes. Maybe its because we prefer not to know.
"The reality is that the current asylum system is breeching human rights, tearing families apart and often returning asylum seekers to dangerous and uncertain futures."
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.