Asylum and borders

"Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution."

- Article 14 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights

In 1954 the UK signed up to the Refugee Convention, and today almost every country is bound by this international law.

Under the law:

  • Anyone in the UK has the right to seek asylum; and
  • The UK Government has an obligation not forcibly to return anyone to a country where they have a genuine fear of being persecuted.

The right to seek asylum is completely separate to the issue of immigration:

  • There is no human right to immigration, so fair and non-discriminatory limits can be placed on economic migration;
  • But the right to asylum can never be limited.

Human rights, including the right not to be subjected to degrading treatment; the right to a private and family life; the right to free expression and protest etc, apply to all human beings. These rights do not depend on citizenship. Some of the UK's immigration and asylum policies have undermined these basic rights, including: