UK Government accused of leaving refugees to die in letter signed by refugee groups, unions and faith leaders

The UK Government has been accused of “turning their backs” on their fellow human beings and leaving them to die.

Ahead of the Nationality and Borders Bill entering the report stage in the House of Commons next week, a number of groups have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel demanding a change of approach.

These groups include the Scottish Refugee Council, members of Unison Scotland and the CEO of the Humanist Society Scotland.

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People take part in a protest outside Downing Street in Westminster, London, calling on the Government to scrap the Nationalities and Borders bill and for the rapid expansion of safe and legal routes for refugees to enter Britain and claim asylum. Picture: PA

The Bill will give powers to turn people back at sea and be screened abroad, but also see individuals stripped of their British citizenship.

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, labelled the Bill “the nadir in UK refugee policy and law”.

He said: “Whilst so many warm hearts and welcome is waiting for the men, women and children seeking safety here, the current UK Government are not amongst them.

“They are selfishly turning their backs on their fellow human beings, leaving them to suffering or worse, death.

"None of this in my name, nor of those whose spirit gives life to this letter, and history will judge us and refugees well, but not our current, morally pitiful ‘leaders’ sitting around their plush Cabinet table.”

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, said: “The Nationality and Borders Bill will murder human rights as we know it and seeks to criminalise those who survive the peril of the seas and those at Dover who try to help them, and is in danger of wreaking murderous consequences for the relatively few who seek sanctuary here.

“This Anti-Refugee Bill does nothing to increase safe routes.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Last week served as the starkest reminder of the dangers of crossing the Channel, as many people tragically lost their lives.

“Our New Plan for Immigration will crack down on the abhorrent criminal gangs who facilitate these lethal crossings, remove many of the pull-factors encouraging people to make the perilous journey from France to the UK and provide safe and legal routes for those who are most vulnerable.

“The Nationality and Borders Bill will put our New Plan for Immigration into action. We simply cannot afford to delay passing that Bill into law.”

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