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How the UK supports violent policies towards refugees across Europe and beyond

01 Feb 22
This article is more than one year old

How the UK supports violent policies towards refugees across Europe and beyond

Right now, across Europe and north Africa, teams from Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are seeing first-hand how policies backed by the UK Government are having a calamitous effect on the health of refugees.

From the freezing forests of eastern Europe to squalid detention centres in Libya, the UK Government supports a disastrous range of policies that deliberately put people in harm’s way.

A piece of legislation currently passing through Parliament is seeking to import aspects of these policies that we are seeing overseas.  

Known as the Nationality and Borders Bill, this anti-refugee plan will have a disastrous effect on the health of people seeking refuge and asylum in the UK.

Take a look at the map below to learn more, or visit the following page to learn about how you can help.

At MSF's out-patient department in Batil refugee camp Gandhi Pant, a nurse, escorts a patient with a possible appendicitis to a waiting ambulance. 

Batil is one of three camps in South Sudan’s Upper Nile State sheltering at least 113,000 refugees who have crossed the border from Blue Nile state to escape fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the SPLM-North armed group. Refugees arrive at the camp with harrowing stories of being bombed out of their homes, or having their villages burned. The camps into which they have poured are on a vast floodplain, leaving many tents flooded and refugees vulnerable to disease. Mortality rates in Batil camp are at emergency levels, malnutrition rates are more than five times above emergency thresholds, and diarrhea and malarial cases are rising.

Help us prepare for the next emergency

We need your help  

Please write to your MP – you can find their contact details using the tool below – and ask them to oppose and remove Clauses 11, 12 and 28 in the amended Nationality and Borders Bill.

Using your own words will carry more impact, so we have not provided a template letter. However, you may wish to mention the following points:

  • (In reference to Clause 11) Introducing a two-tier system that treats asylum seekers differently based on their method of entry into the UK will criminalise people fleeing violence and persecution, who have no choice other than to risk their lives to come to the UK using irregular routes.
  • (In reference to Clause 12) Detaining refugees and asylum seekers in accommodation and reception centres harms people’s dignity, health and wellbeing – as MSF teams have seen on the Greek Islands, in Libya, and elsewhere.
  • (In reference to Clause 28) Moving asylum seekers to another country for ‘offshore processing' has been shown to cause serious harm. On Nauru island, where the Australian Government has an offshore processing centre, close to one-third of MSF’s refugee and asylum seeker patients had attempted suicide and where children as young as nine were found to have self-harmed, thought about committing suicide or attempted suicide.

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