Sunday, July 24, 2005

Humanitarian program at work

Tales from the UK's Home Office:
Asylum seekers were being rejected if they had not sought medical treatment after alleged brutalities, even if they lived in war zones where it was impossible to get medical help, she said.

One applicant was told that an attack they had suffered, in which others had died, was so bad that 'it is not believed that you would have been able to survive'. Others were turned down on the basis of assumptions of what officers thought they might do themselves in the circumstances...

'The examples cited in the report of refusals made by Home Office caseworkers are jaw-dropping, but what is truly shocking is that the report contains so many of them,' said a spokeswoman. 'The report paints a picture of a system dominated by a "culture of disbelief", in which refusals are the norm and stories of persecution are only ever accepted grudgingly.'...

For some nationalities, such as Somalians and Eritreans, more than a third of those rejected have the decision overturned on appeal. The Refugee Council spokeswoman said that unless decisions were made clearly and fairly in the first place, the government would struggle to reduce delays in the system and speed up removals.

The article notes that the public debate over immigration has helped to poison the immigration process. It's easy to point out an individual refugee who wound up harming a society - it's much more difficult to point out the potential contributions of would-be refugees who were turned away, or the suffering of somebody who ends up being persecuted after being sent back to a repressive state. But the latter two factors far outweigh the former, and it looks like the UK has been turning away deserving arrivals due to a lack of understanding of that point.

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