Parliamentary candidates pledge refugee protection

UK is signatory to 1951 UN Refugee Convention

22nd April 2010: The assurance of parliamentary candidates to honour the importance of refugee protection has come as welcome news for the refguees settled in the UK. 

Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown have signed a pledge for the protection of refugees ahead of the second leaders’ debate focusing on foreign policy.

The development is significant as UK is a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. The convention guarantees any person who is not safe in their own country, the right to claim asylum elsewhere. No country has ever withdrawn from it.

The UK is already home to less than two per cent of the world’s refugees. Out of 16 million refugees worldwide about 80 per cent are living in developing countries.

Hundreds of parliamentary candidates signed up to the Liberty, Refugee Council and Scottish Refugee Council asylum election pledge. The pledge aims to play fast and loose with the proud tradition of a nation that must always offer succour to those in real fear of harassment.

The Chief Executive of the Refugee Council, Donna Covey, said that the people seeking asylum have fled war, torture and persecution and come to the UK to seek safety.

Covey asserted that in this election, the right to asylum must be defended. The main party leaders pledge to ensure an impartial debate on immigration and asylum policy and to honour Britain’s history as a place of shelter for the mistreated is a relief for the refugees, added Covey.

Expressing similar sentiments the Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti, said that no one should underestimate the ocean of common decency in Britain and they intend to hold the politicians to this proud tradition.

Voters have been urged to ask their potential parliamentary candidates to sign the pledge on or before 6 May.


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