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Refugees Rights Campaigners: ‘Inhuman’ to Return Migrants to Safe Countries

Fifty refugees rights groups have together said a policy routinely reviewing refugees’ rights to remain is “inhuman” and “beyond basic morality”, and have called on the Home Secretary to reverse it.

In March, an update to the Home Office’s policy on Refugee Leave made it clear that refugees’ cases would be reviewed after they had spent five years in the country to ascertain whether it was safe for them to return to their home country, known as a Safe Return Review.

Guidance on the website made it clear that “Those who still need protection at that point will normally qualify for settlement.”

But refugee rights groups have slammed the policy, insisting that it leaves refugees facing an uncertain future and is therefore “inhuman”, the BBC has reported. They want to see the migrants granted permanent residency rights.

Fifty groups, including Calais Action, Black Lives Matter UK and Manchester Migrant Solidarity, have written to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, calling for the policy to be dropped. They say it will “put an end to hope of stability” for refugees, preventing them from integrating into British society.

Colin Harvey, professor of human rights at Queen’s University, Belfast, and one of the letter’s signatories told the BBC, “These are troubling times. The very idea of human rights is under threat.

“In times such as these we must stand together in support of the global regime of refugee protection and we must ensure that the rights of refugees are not undermined.”

Luke Butterly from Participation and the Practice of Rights, a Belfast-based organisation which also signed the letter, said:

“We’re asking Amber Rudd to listen to the voices put forward in this letter and recognise that this policy will have a devastating impact on people’s lives and will cost the Home Office an awful lot of money and serves no interest in the public good.”

The Home Office said it could not comment due to ‘purdah’ rules which limit Government activities during election campaigns. However, the policy fulfils a pledge made by the prime minister, Theresa May, when she was home secretary.

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