EU Borders: Refugees from Afghanistan Debate

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Department: Home Office

EU Borders: Refugees from Afghanistan

Lord Paddick Excerpts
Thursday 9th September 2021

(2 years, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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Again, as I said to the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, every asylum application should be treated on its merit. If a person left Afghanistan some time ago, before the Taliban takeover, and their application is in the system, that application will be treated on a case-by-case basis. Clearly, others came through Operation Pitting and the ARAP scheme. I repeat: anyone who finds themselves in Europe should claim asylum in the first safe country that they reach.

Lord Paddick Portrait Lord Paddick (LD)
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My Lords, can the Minister clarify two of the answers that she has just given? The Government maintain that all refugees must claim asylum in the first safe country they arrive in and that they will seek to return any asylum seeker who travels to the UK, particularly through EU countries that the Government consider safe. Is the Minister really saying that, if those Afghans who helped the British forces are unable to fly back to the UK and have to travel by land through EU countries, they will be refused entry to the UK because they travelled through EU countries?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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Let me clarify: no, that is not the case at all. If anyone has been accepted through the ARAP scheme or Operation Pitting, they can go to a VAC or be processed in any country in the world, so I am absolutely not saying that. What I am saying is that if someone is not coming through a legal route, they should claim asylum in the first safe country that they reach.