Letter: A harsh response to a Croatian refugee

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Independent (21 April) described the Home Office's imminent deportation of a Croatian asylum- seeker and her two young children on the basis of the Government's 'third- country rule'.

In insisting that asylum-seekers must apply for refuge in the first country they enter, the Government is flying in the face of Conclusion No 15 of the Executive Committee of the UN High Commission for Refugees (of which the UK government forms a part). This states that 'asylum should not be refused solely on the ground that it could be sought in another state'.

The Government has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to the protection of refugees under the UN Convention. However, both in its harsh response to this Croatian asylum-seeker and in the Draft Immigration Rules accompanying the Asylum Bill, the Government is seeking to absolve itself from its duty to give proper consideration to asylum applications from fugitives who have every right to seek our protection.

What does the Government's expressed intention to protect the victims of Serbian persecution mean in practice? How far does our commitment to the Refugee Convention really go? The Government should think again.

Yours sincerely,


Charter '87 for Refugees

St Albans


22 April