Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Exemptions Policy Struck Down

Yet another piece of governmental gerrymandering abrogating the legal rights of refugees to seek protection under international law has been ruled illegal. The history of anti-immigration laws are littered with knee-jerk reactions to racist agitation and political sentiment. And when each incremental restriction of our freedom of movement proves to have not cut the numbers of those deemed as undesirable by the political classes, those same political classes tinker with the ways in which each new piece of restrictive legislation is applied, further restricting supposed safeguards under the law.

Thus we have seen the was that the 'exemptions policy' brought in by John Reid when he was Home Secretary in March 2007 was incrementally widened to allow for ever easier ways of denying detainees full access to the law, thereby making their removal from the country easier. That the lawyers for the Home Office argued that the exemptions policy was "sufficiently flexible" to ensure there were no human rights breaches only reinforces the doublethink involved in this type of policy. The 'sufficient flexibility' was wholly on the side of the Home Office.

Of course, the reforms of the Legal Aid budget and the loss of organisations like Refugee and Migrant Justice will more or less achieve the same ends by restricting the ability of refugees to access the courts and protect the rights supposedly guaranteed under law that the government constantly seeks to restrict by hook or by crook.

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