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The 1951 UN Convention on Refugees is unworkable today


Michael Howard, Policy for the 2005 election: Controlled Immigration, 10-04-2005.


Michael Howard - 2005

A Conservative Government will give the UN Secretary General 12 months’ notice of Britain’s withdrawal from the 1951 United Nations Convention on Refugees and the 1967 New York Protocol. The 1951 Convention is increasingly unworkable today.

It was designed to give shelter to the small number of Eastern European dissidents who managed to escape from behind the Iron Curtain, not to deal with the challenges of mass migration. As Mr Blair has said:

The 1951 Convention … was drawn up for a vastly different world, in which people did not routinely travel huge distances across multiple borders (The Times, 4 May 2001).

The Convention prevents governments taking immediate action to deport asylum seekers whose claims are obviously not genuine. Nearly all applicants – irrespective of the merits of their case – are entitled to the full process of claim, consideration and appeal.

At the same time, a Conservative Government will enter reservations against those parts of the European Convention on Human Rights which would prevent it implementing its asylum reform programme.


Full text of Howard immigration speech



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