Statement from Laura Kyrke-Smith, Executive Director of IRC UK:

The Home Secretary’s proposals risk criminalising brave, innocent people fleeing conflict, crisis and persecution. These are the very same people that we know British people want to help and protect, having seen their outpouring of generosity and kindness in response to crises in Ukraine and Afghanistan.

As a founding signatory of the Refugee Convention the UK has long championed and supported the international system that protects refugees. We urge the Government to uphold its obligations under this Convention, which gives every human being the right to seek asylum in a safe country.

For as long as there are conflicts and crises in the world, people will find ways to get to safety here in the UK and elsewhere. Rather than introducing immoral and ineffective methods of deterrence, the Government should process asylum claims more effectively, urgently increase resettlement places, and use diplomacy and humanitarian aid to reduce the reasons people flee their homes in the first place.