Good news! Some dangerous parts of the Nationality and Borders Bill have been defeated in the House of Lords including:
– Denying asylum to people because of how they arrived in the UK.
– Removing citizenship without notice and therefore the right to appeal.
– Sending people to prison for entering the UK without a visa regardless of why they had to escape here.
– Criminalising those providing humanitarian assistance to asylum seekers arriving in the UK.
But even as amended, the Bill will have a particularly devastating impact on women, around 70% of whom have fled rape (see Women Against Rape’s briefing).
The Bill now returns to the Commons for members of parliament to vote on the Lords’ amendments. It is not too late to stop it. More than three million people have fled the bombing in Ukraine – mostly women and children. The government’s sadistic response to refugees, which is sadly familiar to those of us who have been fighting for asylum rights for years, is forcing desperate people trying to get to the UK through a bureaucratic nightmare. In contrast the outpouring of public sympathy is such that over 100,000 UK people registered to house refugees within one day.
The Nationality and Borders Bill will affect everyone seeking refuge including Ukrainian people fleeing for their lives. Most people will be deprived of refugee status and therefore family reunion. If we needed any reminder about how dependent we all are on our family connections for safety and protection, we need only look at the people from Ukraine who are ready to travel thousands of miles across many different countries to be reunited with loved ones.
The public’s compassionate response to the Ukrainian exodus is having an impact. Some peers are demanding that the Bill be withdrawn: “… this is not the right time to press ahead … Ukraine has raised questions about the Bill … some kind of pause ought to be considered”, Lord Bishop of Durham. The Scottish government and Welsh Senedd have refused to give their consent to the Bill.
We must continue to oppose the Nationality and Borders Bill. Please use our sample letter to ask your MP to stop the Bill when it returns to the House of Commons.
Global Women Against Deportations (GWAD) is a coalition based at the Crossroads Women’s Centre, which includes the All African Women’s Group, a 100 strong organisation of women asylum seekers and refugees from every continent, along with Legal Action for Women, Women Against Rape and Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike.
GWAD@allwomencount.net. 020 7482 2496.