The British NGO Help Refugees reported that a ruling by the UK Court of Appeal found the British government "unlawfully detained dozens - and potentially hundreds - of asylum seekers."
The British humanitarian organisation Help Refugees said a "landmark" ruling by the UK Court of Appeal found the British government "unlawfully detained dozens - and potentially hundreds - of asylum seekers under the Dublin III regulation." The case was brought by five asylum seekers from Iraq and Afghanistan who were detained between January 2014 and March 2017.
The case of five asylum seekers
Help Refugees said the Dublin III regulation states that asylum seekers must claim asylum in the first safe country they arrive in. If refugees continued to another country, the regulation states that country can legally deport them back to the first safe country they arrived in. In the case of the five migrants, while discussions between the British government and their original safe countries were taking place, the Home Office "had been detaining said asylum seekers indefinitely."
Under Dublin III, states can detain people if there is "significant risk of absconding." However, "there had been no stated criteria for 'risk of absconding' under UK law at the time these five asylum seekers were detained," according to Help Refugees.
"As a result, judges ruled that this practice was illegal," added the NGO.
'Deeply concerning unlawful conduct'
The judgment "means that anybody detained under Dublin III regulations from 1 January 2014 until 15 March 2017 were unlawfully detained, and may now be able to claim damages from the government for false imprisonment," Help Refugees said.
"This landmark judgment has huge implications for those who were detained under the provision in the Dublin regulation [Dublin III]," said Krisha Prathepan, of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, the firm that represented four of the five refugees.
"It is deeply concerning that the Home Office's unlawful conduct may have led to the detention of so many people without any lawful basis. In effect, the Home Office has unlawfully detained hundreds or even thousands of individuals seeking international protection," she said.