Amnesty protests at plan to deport Bosnian couple
Amnesty International claims plans to remove a Bosnian couple to Italy next week are in breach of the Government's obligations under the United Nations convention on refugees. Susannah Cox, the Refugee Council's spokeswoman, said yesterday: 'Such an action is . . . unacceptable in the face of one of the worst refugee crises since the war. Britain is deliberately turning its back on the sheer scale of the problem.'
Last month, the Government faced a political storm when it was revealed that Britain had sent at least 36 people from the former Yugoslavia to other European countries already overburdened by the crisis. Germany and other countries have absorbed more than 200,000 refugees, while Britain had accepted at that stage only 2,000.
Kenneth Clarke, the Home Secretary, was criticised for rejecting a plea from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to relax asylum policy.
But since the furore refugee groups and lawyers reported that immigration officials did appear to be easing rules - only one extended family has been deported to Germany, where they had lived for the previous 18 months.
But the decision this week to deport Boris Zugic, a 28-year-old Serb, and his Muslim girlfriend, Belma Abdicevic, has prompted fears of a resumption in deportations. Although the couple had lived in Italy for nine months before coming to England, the refugee groups say Italy's policy towards Serbians may leave the couple in severe difficulties.
In his letter to Mr Clarke, Ken Ritchie, deputy director of the Refugee Council, says: 'It appears Italy has been admitting Serbs who have family or friends in Italy and others from the former Yugoslavia are being accommodated in camps which are ethnically segregated. Even if Mr Zugic were allowed to remain in Italy it would be unreasonable to expect him to stay with his partner in a Muslim camp.'
Amnesty's letter asks Mr Clarke to 'reconsider the decision to resume 'third country' removals'. David Bull, its director, says: 'It is not clear to Amnesty International how sending Yugoslav asylum seekers arriving in the UK back to countries where they have spent days, weeks or even months assists the efforts of UNHCR to resolve the current crisis.'
A Home Office spokesman said plans to deport the couple had been suspended while representations from their lawyer, Susan Sutovic, and the refugee groups were being considered.
Naheed Ejaz, 28, whose arrest pending deportation after living in England for eight years was reported in the Independent yesterday, has been released and re- united with her four English-born children pending a full hearing of her case in November.
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...