Delays in UK asylum system are only going to worsen

Sushila Dhall says it’s the Home Office that is responsible for asylum seekers’ misery, not the pandemic

It is easy to blame the pandemic for the UK asylum system “grinding to a halt”, as this neatly absolves the Home Office from responsibility (Child asylum seekers ‘falling apart’ due to Home Office delays, 25 Maart). The truth is that the asylum system has been made increasingly hostile and disbelieving over the past two decades through a deliberate policy aimed at trying to discourage people from seeking asylum in the UK. Home Office delays and misjudgments are common, as are claims lost or not resolved for well over 10 jare. In addition, for young asylum seekers, there is the misery of age assessments carried out by social services who know they have scarce resources to offer protection and help to children, and who frequently assess weary, broken, exhausted and lost young people as over 18. Asylum seekers often suffer as much from failures in the UK asylum system as they have from losing their homes and countries, and from arduous journeys seeking safety. What asylum seekers lose here in the UK is hope of any kind of justice or safety, and we are about to make this suffering all the worse under the cruelty of proposed new legislation.
Sushila Dhall
Oxford

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