The Tories’ latest anti-migrant move — suggestions of removing asylum-seekers to camps in remote locations, hundreds or thousands of miles away, while their claims are processed — has now been condemned by numerous humanitarian and migrants’ rights organisations, by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and, though in fairly timid terms, by the Labour Party.
Many organisations have pointed to the humanitarian consequences of Australia’s use of this model. As Enver Solomon of the Refugee Council put it: “We know from the Australian model that offshore detention leads to appalling outcomes including high levels of self-harm and mental illness. It is an inhumane policy...”
Whether the proposal is to move asylum-seekers three hundred miles to the Isle of Man, a thousand miles to Gibraltar, or 4,000 miles to Ascension island in the Atlantic, it must be defeated.
We must build momentum to comprehensively reverse the decades-long push towards marginalisation and demonisation of refugees (and other migrants), or the downwards spiral will continue.
The labour movement must fight to win safe routes to the UK for asylum-seekers, for the abolition of all immigration detention, and for rights to family union, to work with the same rights as other workers, and to access normal benefits and public services.