06:08 GMT +327 March 2019
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    UK Asylum System: Unlawful, Unfair, Now Suspended

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    "The Detained Fast Track belongs on the scrapheap of UK human rights history." That’s according to Bamidele, a member of the Freed Voices group whose asylum claim was heard – but rejected under the UK government’s Detained Fast Track [DFT] program.

    "The Detained Fast Track is nothing short of a kangaroo court. I received no fair trial, the result was fixed from the moment I walked in the room," says Bamidele.

    Three times the British courts have ruled that the UKs controversial [DFT] program was unlawful and yet it remained in place on grounds of it being inconvenient for the government to change it.

    London’s Court of Appeal lifted the stay on the High Court Order ruling and now the UK’s immigration minister James Brokenshire has announced an immediate suspension of the DFT procedure.

    This means more than 100 asylum seekers, locked up in prison-like conditions in immigration detention centers across Britain under the Home Office 'fast track' scheme will be allowed to walk free.

    "I have decided to temporarily suspend the operation of the detained fast track policy," James Brokenshire statement says.

    "I hope this pause to be short in duration, perhaps only a matter of weeks, but I will only resume operation of this policy when I am sure the right structures are in place to minimize any risk of unfairness."

    According to the Home Office, just over 30,000 asylum claims were made in the UK last year. An adult asylum seeker who arrives in Britain is given an allowance of £5.23 per day. This leaves many asylum seekers unable to buy food.

    "The majority of applicants are provided with accommodation and supported by the Home Office," says Brokenshire, others have to find their own place to live.

    In the UK, an asylum seeker is someone who is awaiting a decision by the Home Secretary whether to grant them refugee status or not – and until now – while they wait under the DFT program, they are held unlawfully in immigration detention centers. According to the Home Office, the detention can last between three and six months.

    The UK is the only country in Europe to allow the indefinite detention of migrants. As a result thousands of asylum seekers are held under the DFT program every year. In 2013, 203 children were detained in immigration removal centers — 155 were younger than eleven.

    The controversial – and now suspended – fast track process was set up in 2002 due to an increase in asylum applications. In 2013, 2,288 asylum seekers were detained on the Fast Track scheme. 

    "Many, including from countries such as Syria, are accepted as refugees and granted permission to stay. Adding that a fast track process, 'for those that have very weak or spurious claims', is still an important part of our immigration system.

    "That is why the Government remains committed to the principles of a detained fast track system and will re-introduce one as soon as we are satisfied the right structures are in place to ensure it operates as it is supposed to."

    Detention Action Director Jerome Phelps said: "We welcome this announcement. We hope that today will mark the end of the UK’s routine detention of asylum-seekers."

    It means now that more than 800 asylum seekers will have their case urgently reviewed. But whether they get to stay in Britain or not – remains undecided.


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    migrants, detention, Fast Track Authority, asylum seekers, asylum, United Kingdom
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