Demonstration at the Home Office in support of asylum seekers

THE passage of the British government’s anti-immigration bill shows that the authorities are desperate to show they have a strategy for limiting illegal migration but it’s known to everyone that this strategy won’t work, says a former British diplomat.

Peter Ford, a former UK diplomat who served as ambassador in Syria between 2003 and 2006 and before that in Bahrain from 1999 to 2003, said in an interview with the Press TV website, that the problem of illegal migration has been caused by the UK and its Western allies.

‘Everybody knows that the strategy won’t work but the (British) government has to pretend to believe it because they are unwilling to face up to the causes of illegal migration,’ he remarked.

Dubbed the ‘Illegal Immigration Bill’, it was passed by the British Parliament last week and now awaits the formality of ‘Royal Assent’ from King Charles III to become a law.

The bill has been widely denounced by human rights groups and international organisations, including the UN refugee and human rights chiefs, who said it is ‘at variance with the country’s obligations under international human rights and refugee law and will have profound consequences for people in need of international protection.’

‘What is inhumane is Britain’s military and economic interventions in the countries from which most illegal migrants originate: Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan,’ Ford told the Press TV website.

‘Britain caused these countries to become failed states with direct invasion, proxy war and sanctions.’

The former British diplomat hastened to add that Britain also ‘destabilised’ Libya, ‘making it a jumping-off point for African migrants’.

‘We have only ourselves to blame if young men from these countries try to reach Britain. Even now we are turning the screw on Syria, ramping up sanctions and preventing reconstruction,’ he asserted.

The flagship bill pushed by the Tory Sunak government will bar people from claiming asylum in the UK and deport them either to their country of origin or Rwanda.

UN human rights chief Volker Turk said on Tuesday the bill raises ‘very serious legal concerns’ and sets ‘a worrying precedent for dismantling asylum-related obligations’ that other countries may follow.

Ford said that the stricter rules are a ‘consequence of the European failure to deal with the problem at the source: Europe’s interference in countries of the Global South’, adding that it is ‘a taboo to even consider this aspect of the matter’.

‘The main problem is that the numbers seem simply uncontrollable. This is causing deep concern and resentment among populations already suffering from the severe economic crisis,’ he maintained.

‘Europe continues to dig its own grave by imposing sanctions on countries like Iran and Syria, a policy which can only result in more migration.’