UK continues to abuse the rights of genuine asylum seekers.
London – 20 August 2005
Can we please have some ethical consistency with regard to the government’s policies on asylum and the proposed deportation of foreign terror suspects?
The Home Office has granted asylum to a number of Algerians who are former Islamist terrorists or who are wanted on suspicion of involvement in terrorism. They have been granted asylum on the grounds that they could be at risk of torture or execution if they were returned to Algeria and other jurisdictions. Fair enough.
What is alarming is that the Home Office has granted Algerian terror suspects asylum, while frequently refusing asylum to the victims of Islamist terrorism in that country. Algerians who have survived torture and assassination attempts by the Islamists – and serious human rights abuses by the Algerian police and military – are often denied asylum and deported back to the country of their persecution.
In other words, the Home Office seems to be treating alleged Algerian terrorist perpetrators more sympathetically than it treats Algerian terror victims.
Now the government proposes to compound this injustice by seeking a “no torture” agreement with the Algerian government (and other states) before deporting foreign terror suspects.
Astonishingly, the government has never sought any such agreement to guarantee the safety of the victims of Algerian terrorism whose asylum claims are rejected. They are issued with deportation orders, with no assurances that they will be protected from abuse. The Home Office takes the optimistic view that they will not be at risk of violence if they are returned.
What moral madness prompts the government to seek protection for terror suspects but not for the victims of terrorism?