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UK peers question India’s addition to safe states list to block asylum seekers

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LONDON, Dec 2: A House of Lords committee that scrutinises bills tabled in Parliament has raised
concerns over India being added to the UK’s expanded safe states list, which would rule out Indians
entering the country illegally from seeking asylum.
The cross-party House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee considered the draft
Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (Amendment of List of Safe States) Regulations 2024 and
in a report released on Friday questioned the lack of key information on a policy intended to tackle
“unfounded” human rights claims.
It follows former home secretary Suella Braverman tabling the draft regulations in the House of
Commons earlier this month after having “rigorously assessed” that India, as well as Georgia, are
deemed safe states to be added to the list.
“More generally, we observe that there is scope for different points of view on whether India and
Georgia are ‘safe states’, based on their human rights records,” said Baroness Angela Harris, a Liberal
Democrat peer on the committee.
“The Home Office has also not provided any clarity on whether the significant backlog of existing asylum
claims from nationals of these countries will continue to be processed as previously or will be deemed
inadmissible retrospectively. Overall, we found the explanatory material laid with the draft Regulations
did not provide a clear enough picture of how they would be implemented in practice,” she said.
The committee’s report notes that a submission it received suggests that human rights abuses in both
India and Georgia may be “significant and widespread” and that the UK Home Secretary, now James
Cleverly since the sacking of Braverman, may need to be questioned on how the Home Office arrived at
the conclusion to add the two countries to an expanded list.
The amendment draft, which would need the consent of both Houses to be passed into law, would
mean that any asylum or human rights claim made by a national from India or Georgia must be declared
inadmissible, unless “exceptional circumstances” apply.
“In the case of these draft regulations, the guidance on ‘exceptional circumstances’ is so critical to their
operation that effective scrutiny is impossible without understanding how this aspect will work,”
stressed Baroness Harris.
In conclusion, the committee’s report draws the draft to the special attention of Parliament and
suggests that it can only scrutinise them properly if the guidance is published before the debate on them
takes place.
At the time of the announcement, the Home Office had noted that the proposal will undergo
parliamentary scrutiny in the usual way via debates in both Houses of Parliament before it comes into
force.

It described the measure as being in line with steps to meet British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge
to “stop the boats” of migrants landing on the country’s shores illegally after making precarious journeys
across the English Channel.
According to the Home Office, Indian and Georgian small boat arrivals have increased over the last year
despite individuals from these countries not being at obvious risk of persecution. (PTI)

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The Hills Timeshttps://thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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