Refugees who cross the Channel in small boats to succeed in the UK are set to be electronically tagged – and prosecuted in the event that they fail to conform – beneath Home Office plans.
Campaigners and consultants have accused ministers of adopting a “draconian and punitive” method that can see individuals who have battle and hazard handled as “criminals”, and of pushing via the plan regardless of having “no concrete evidence” that it’ll enhance ranges of compliance.
A 12-month pilot will see a few of those that journey to Britain by way of “unnecessary and dangerous routes” fitted with tags, together with probably these recognised as victims of torture and trafficking, in accordance with new Home Office steering.
If tagging circumstances are breached, asylum seekers could also be thought of for detention and removing, topic to administrative arrest or prosecuted, the doc states.
Earlier this week the federal government was criticised over its controversial Rwanda deportation plan, with a flight to take asylum seekers to central Africa grounded on the final minute after European judges intervened on human rights grounds.
It is known that among the 130 asylum seekers who have been detained for removing on the flight would be the first to be fitted with digital tags if and when they’re launched from detention.
Enver Solomon, chief government of the Refugee Council, stated: “It’s appalling that this government is intent on treating men, women and children who have fled war, bloodshed and persecution as criminals.
“This draconian and punitive approach not only shows no compassion for very vulnerable people it will also do nothing to deter those who are desperately seeking safety in the UK.”
A Home Office spokesperson stated: “We will keep as many people in detention as the law allows but where a court orders that an individual due to be on Tuesday’s flight should be released, we will tag them where appropriate.”
The steering states that these on tag can be required to to cooperate with any preparations the Home Office specifies for “detecting and recording by electronic means” their presence at “a location at specified times, during specified periods of time”.
It goes on to state that the tag may additionally be accompanied by a number of additional circumstances together with a curfew or an “inclusion or exclusion zone (requirement to remain within, or not to enter, a specified area)”.
Caseworkers can be required to contemplate a lot of components when deciding whether or not it’s applicable to tag a person, together with medical proof suggesting it could trigger critical hurt to their well being, if a declare of torture been accepted by the Home Office or a courtroom, or if the person has been recognised as a contemporary slavery sufferer.
But the steering goes on to state that these components do “not in [themselves] prohibit imposing such a condition”, including: “In many cases, even where there is some evidence in favour of removing electronic monitoring, on balance it may still be appropriate to maintain electronic monitoring due to other relevant factors.”
Dr Monish Bhatia, lecturer in criminology at Birkbeck college of London who has carried out analysis into using digital tags on asylum claimants, described the Home Office plan as an “extreme measure”.
“The electronic tagging is highly intrusive, and the research evidence strongly suggests that migrants who are subjected to this technology experience it as a form of punishment,” he stated.
“Tags are equally dehumanising, degrading and confining as detention centres. In my research, migrants who were tagged developed symptoms of anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and an overall deterioration of mental health.
He added: “The Home Office has not provided any concrete evidence to support their flight risk narrative or to justify the necessity or effectiveness of the tag or anything that shows tags make individuals comply with immigration rules better than any non-intrusive and humane alternatives to detention.
“This is a sheer waste of taxpayers money, which can be re-directed for more productive use.”
Maria Thomas, of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, who’s representing a lot of these detained forward of the failed Rwanda flight, stated the tagging pilot was “highly concerning” and seemed to be designed to “further demonise vulnerable asylum seekers arriving in the UK by small boat”.
“The policy is vague and provides no guidance on how representations will be considered or against what criteria, and raises serious concerns about the blanket treatment of vulnerable individuals, including torture and trafficking victims,” she added.
The Home Office wouldn’t affirm which asylum seekers can be included within the pilot, however The Independent understands that folks won’t be tagged instantly upon arriving in Britain in small boats.
In the steering, the division states that tagging will solely be utilized the place its software doesn’t breach a person’s human rights beneath the Human Rights Act 1998 and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Following the grounding of Tuesday’s flight, dwelling secretary Priti Patel insisted the plan to deport asylum seekers to east Africa would proceed, saying: “Many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next.”
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