Joint Committee On Human Rights Twenty-Third Report

D. Conclusion

49. We draw the following matters to the attention of each House on human rights grounds.

—  There is a risk that leaving a person destitute would inevitably threaten a violation of rights under Articles 3 and/or 8 of the ECHR (paragraph 8 above).

—  There is a risk that the power to support children without related adults might lead to the separation of members of a family, giving rise to a risk of a violation of Article 8 (paragraph 8).

—  There is a danger that clause 54, inserted in the Bill on re-commitment, would authorise a violation of the right to adequate housing, food and clothing under Article 11(1) of the ICESC (paragraphs 10-15).

—  There are weaknesses of safeguards for human rights in clause 54, in view of:

    (i)    the burden being placed on the claimant to satisfy the Secretary of State that a claimant has claimed asylum as soon as reasonably practicable;

    (ii)  the lack of objectivity in the requirement that a person must claim asylum as soon as reasonably practicable in order to be entitled to support;

    (iii)  the lack of any appeal to an adjudicator against a decision denying support; and

    (iv)  the absence of any power to provide support pending an application for judicial review of the decision to deny support (paragraphs 16-19).

—  There are doubts as to the effect of clause 56, authorising the making of regulations to allow support to be withheld if the Secretary of State is not satisfied that the claimant has given a full and accurate account of various matters and is co-operating with the Secretary of State's further enquiries (paragraphs 23-25).

—  There are weaknesses in safeguards for human rights in clause 56 and a risk of a violation of Article 6(1) of the ECHR through a potential threat to the privilege against self-incrimination (paragraphs 27-29).

—  We are concerned that the presumption that certain states are generally safe could lead to people being subjected to threats to their human rights if removed to those countries, and that the power to specify new 'safe' states carries the same risks and is subject to insufficient safeguards (paragraph 35-39).

—  We are concerned at the over-breadth of the proposed new clause, to be re-introduced on Third Reading, to allow conditions to be attached to people who are admitted to the United Kingdom pending a decision as to whether to give directions for their removal, or the implementation of such directions (paragraphs 41-48).

We recommend that these provisions should be amended in the ways suggested in this report, in order to provide protection against the risks identified above.

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 23 October 2002