As a network of now 50 independent organisations, we continue to be highly concerned about the future impact of the Nationality and Borders Bill as it works its way through Parliament.
We stand in full support of the broader campaign being led by Together with Refugees. We support the opposition to the proposed two tiers for people seeking asylum in this country and how the manner in which people arrive in the UK will be held against them. This is particularly cruel when there are no real safe and legal routes for people to seek sanctuary. We also support the amendments calling for a higher number of resettled refugees each year. The crisis in Afghanistan, but in also in other parts of the world, has surely shown us that as a country we need to do more to support the UN international resettlement schemes.
But as a forum, we remained concerned about the proposed increase use of accommodation centres. We have a rich tradition in this country of accommodating people seeking sanctuary in our community not isolating them in distant camps. The experience at Napier Barracks in Kent presents a real warning of what the future might look like if there are more such centres. And the recent APPG on Detention report on Quasi -detention presents a stark assessment of the inhumane reality of these accommodation centres. We should stand firm in our opposition to such centres. They are in fact just detention by another name.
And we remain concerned about the proposals to open off-shore processing centres – but they should be called off-shore detention centres. We know from the experience of Short-term Holding Facilities used by the UK Government in Northern France that out of sight leads inevitably to out of mind. And we heard from academics from the University of Greenwich last year about the mental health impact in Australia caused by the government there using off-shore detention centres. Such centres have no place in a humane asylum system.
It has been good to see Peers from across the House tabling amendments to this Bill, which threatens to undermine any attempt to operate a caring and humane asylum system. And we will be working with our members over the next few months to encourage MPs to vote against these disturbing proposals when the Bill returns to the Commons shortly.