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Page 4, line 10, at end insert--
(“( ) “Claim for asylum" has the meaning given in subsection (1) of section 89; and subsection (3) of that section applies for the purposes of this section as it applies for the purposes of Part VI.
( ) “Dependant" has such meaning as may be prescribed.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Bassam of Brighton moved Amendment No. 7:

After Clause 6, insert the following new clause--


(“. In the 1971 Act, after section 8A, insert--
“Persons excluded from the United Kingdom under international obligations.
8B.--(1) An excluded person must be refused--
(a) leave to enter the United Kingdom;
(b) leave to remain in the United Kingdom.
(2) A person's leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom is cancelled on his becoming an excluded person.
(3) A person's exemption from the provisions of this Act as a result of section 8(1), (2) or (3) ceases on his becoming an excluded person.
(4) “Excluded person" means a person named by or under a designated international instrument.
(5) “Designated international instrument" means a resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations or an instrument made by the Council of the European Union which--
(a) requires or recommends the United Kingdom not to admit to the United Kingdom a person named by or under the resolution or instrument (however that requirement or recommendation is expressed); and
(b) is designated in an order made by the Secretary of State.
(6) Subsections (1) to (3) are subject to such exceptions (if any) as may specified in the order designating the instrument in question.
(7) An order under this section must be made by statutory instrument.
(8) Such an instrument shall, after it is made, be laid before Parliament without delay." ").

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The noble Lord said: My Lords, the effect of the amendment is to insert a new Section 8B into the Immigration Act 1971 to provide that certain people who have been excluded on a European Union or United Nations travel ban can be excluded from the United Kingdom. From time to time, both the UN Security Council and the Council of the European Union introduce travel bans, the purpose of which is to restrict the movement of certain individuals associated with hostile or despotic regimes. This is achieved by requiring members states of the UN or EU respectively to exclude the individuals concerned from their territory or to restrict their access to those territories.

As a matter of international law, the United Kingdom is required to recognise all UN and EU travel bans and to refuse persons who are subject to those bans permission to enter its territory. At present, refusal of entry on the basis of a travel ban is effected under paragraph 320 of the Immigration Rules. This is done either by a personal exclusion order signed by the Secretary of State under paragraph 320(6) of the Immigration Rules or by way of a decision by the entry clearance officer or the immigration officer at the port of entry under paragraph 320(19) of the rules.

However, in order to determine whether the public good is being served by refusing entry to a certain individual, account has to be taken of all the facts of the case. Under current legislation, to exclude someone simply because he or she were included on an EU or UN travel ban may be an unlawful fetter of both the Secretary of State's and the immigration officers' decision-making powers. Therefore, as currently drafted, paragraph 320 of the Immigration Rules does not provide a vehicle by which the UK can discharge its international obligations under these travel bans. In order to overcome this problem and honour the UK's international obligations, it is necessary to amend the Immigration Act 1971 to provide that persons subject to a UN or EU travel ban can be excluded from the United Kingdom. I beg to move.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, we have in fact been excluding people under UN or EU travel bans for a long time. Therefore, what the noble Lord has just told the House is that we have been behaving unlawfully. However, I wish to raise a particular difficulty as regards the amendment as drafted. I shall illustrate my point by referring to the ban, which was imposed on members of the Sierra Leone military junta under Security Council Resolution 1132 of October 1997.

The task of naming people to be included in the ban was delegated to a sanctions committee. The first thing that happened was that the committee, acting at the behest of President Kabbah of Sierra Leone, produced a list which it circulated to member states. We, in turn, notified the Immigration Service that persons named on that list were to be refused entry to the United Kingdom. But the list was not published and it was not until 28th January 1997 that a revised list was produced by the sanctions committee, including all the members of the military junta and their senior associates in the armed forces and in government who were to be excluded from the UK.

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However, the Foreign Office omitted to notify the immigration and nationality department that the list had changed; indeed, it continued to work on the previous un-published list, which had been circulated by the sanctions committee immediately after SCR 1132 was promulgated. The practical effect of this was that a gentleman, who happens to be a friend of mine, was stopped by an immigration officer when coming into Heathrow in June of this year. He was interrogated over a period of many hours but was subsequently released when the Home Office referred the matter to the Foreign Office and it was discovered that his name was not on the current list. When I protested, I was told that instructions had been given to ensure that this would never happen again and that whenever lists were modified as a result of action by the Security Council, or its agent--in this case, the sanctions committee--such information would immediately be drawn to the attention of the Immigration Service.

The amendment refers to a person “named by" a Security Council resolution or “under" it. I want the Government to assure me that they will not operate on the basis of secret lists issued by a sub-committee or agent of the Security Council and that they will only apply the restrictions in the amendment to persons whose names are properly published either by the Security Council or by any sub-committee which it designates for the purpose. It is fundamentally unjust for a person to have such restrictions applied to him when he does not know that they have been imposed and has no opportunity of objecting if his name appears improperly on the list, as was the case with my friend.

The Government admitted that there was no suggestion that this gentleman had ever been in any way associated with the military junta in Sierra Leone. The only reason for his name appearing on the list was that he was a political opponent of President Kabbah, against whom he displayed extreme malice in a letter which he wrote to the Prime Minister, about which we need not go into detail now. However, it was the subject of previous exchanges in the House and dealt with by the Select Committee when it looked into the subject of Sierra Leone.

I have a further query about the amendment; namely, why has the Commonwealth been excluded from the organisations that can ask for members states to be excluded? The Commonwealth habitually does so; for example, in the case of Nigeria. I have before me the communique from the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting held in Edinburgh in October 1997, paragraph 15 of which says:

    “Heads of Government also empowered CMAG"--

that is, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group--

    “to invoke ... Commonwealth-wide implementation of any or all of the measures recommended by CMAG",

which included,

    “visa restrictions on members of the Nigerian regime and their families".

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As noble Lords will recall, we did in fact impose those restrictions on the leading members of the military government in Nigeria, and quite properly so. Therefore, why is it that only the EU and the UN are covered under the amendment?

Finally, if the Government think that lists should be published of the persons we would not admit to the UK, why not extend the arrangement to those who, because of their alleged association with organisations deemed to be involved in terrorism, are not to be permitted to enter the United Kingdom? Would that not make the clause more comprehensive? My primary purpose in detaining your Lordships on the matter is to ensure that we do not impose these restrictions on anyone whose name is not published by the organisations dealt with in the amendment.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, I express my support for what the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has just said. Will the Minister give an assurance that all exclusion lists will be published as soon as they are known, or as soon as they begin to come into effect? In that case, people will know where they stand.

Lord Alton of Liverpool: My Lords, in supporting my noble friend Lord Hylton and the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, perhaps I may also put a few questions to the Minister about the amendment. I should like to know the specific reasons why it has been necessary to bring forward such an amendment at this stage. Can the Minister tell us whether there have been controversial cases where Her Majesty's Government have not been able to exclude someone with the existing powers when they have been quite reasonably requested to do so by one of the international bodies mentioned or, indeed, any other international body?

It seems to me that this is a potentially draconian power which we are ceding to groups of people about whom we do not know a great deal. For example, who makes up the committee of the Council of the European Union that will be deciding whether or not people will ultimately be allowed to enter the United Kingdom? Why do we need to give this right away instead of making the decision ourselves in the UK?

Further, just for the purposes of today's debate, I wonder whether the Minister can tell the House how many people have actually been involved in this way? For example, can he tell us how many people have been referred to the Home Office during the past 12 months by either of these agencies and how those cases were dealt with?

4 p.m.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, I was hoping that the Minister would not only give us some of the information that the noble Lord, Lord Alton, seeks but would also perhaps give us some examples of individuals who have been excluded as a result of this process and as a result of resolutions of the Council of the European Union. In giving those examples perhaps he could say which part of the Council of the

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European Union made the decision, and whether such decisions are made by weighted majority or by unanimity. The Council of Ministers meets in a great variety of forms in the European Union. The expression used in the new clause is,

    “the Council of the European Union".

That usually refers to meetings of Prime Ministers, heads of government and heads of state rather than to the ordinary day-to-day meetings of lesser Ministers. However, I am not quite sure whether that would be the legal meaning of the phrase within the Bill.

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