British Court of Appeal Does Justice to the Channel Refugees
The decision confirms that their asylum does not violate British law
The British Court of Appeal has ruled that asylum seekers intercepted while trying to cross the English Channel in small boats towards the UK are not in breach of British law.
The court overturned a conviction of 3 people who had been wrongly imprisoned for “assisting illegal immigration” for running boats carrying asylum seekers, after it was found that they had not committed a crime that required their imprisonment, according to a report of The Independent newspaper.
Last Tuesday’s ruling said the law was “misunderstood” by the Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service, and that there was a misunderstanding of the laws that made asylum seekers believe they had no way to defend themselves.
The three judges who handed down the ruling said asylum seekers who were intercepted by authorities in the English Channel, or who were detained after arriving at British ports, had not entered the UK illegally.
The ruling also stated that “Although the asylum seeker does not have a valid passport, identity document or prior permission to enter the United Kingdom, this does not make his arrival at its ports a breach of immigration law.
The judges explained that there is a misunderstanding of the law “adopted by the investigators in these cases (in reference to the Border Guard forces) and transferred to the authorities that sue them, and then also transferred to the authorities responsible for their defence, and thus affected the way in which the judges dealt with the Canterbury Crown Court ( the Canterbury Crown Court) with the case.
Under current law, an asylum seeker who is only trying to reach the UK border in order to apply for asylum, has not entered or attempted to enter the country illegally.
The Independent newspaper indicated that the judicial ruling raises important questions for the Ministry of the Interior, which accused the people, who were acquitted by the court on Tuesday, of committing the crime of human smuggling, and declared that the crossing of asylum seekers into the Channel Channel is an illegal act.
We stress that the new amendments, which have sparked controversy and fierce debate in the British Parliament, introduced by the government of Boris Johnson, may represent a breach of international law regarding refugee protection. We commend the decision of the British Court of Appeal to favor humanitarian law and not comply with the will of the British government itself.