LONDON: The UK home secretary has declined to comment on whether champion runner Mo Farah, who was trafficked into Britain aged 9, would have been deported under fresh plans to clamp down on asylum-seekers, The Guardian reported on Wednesday.
Suella Braverman said the government is abiding by the law with the proposed strategy to detain and deport asylum-seekers crossing the English Channel.
The strategy, outlined by her and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, aims to clamp down on migrant crossings and deter would-be asylum-seekers from attempting dangerous journeys from France to Britain.
But Braverman, while unveiling the strategy, said the plan is “more than 50 percent” likely to violate human rights laws.
After the strategy was publicized, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said it is “profoundly concerned” as the strategy would be a “clear breach of the refugee convention.”
The plans were announced as the UK faces a surging backlog of asylum claims, with 166,000 people awaiting decisions on their applications.
Braverman, in a TV interview, was asked whether Farah would have been deported under the strategy.
She struggled to answer, saying: “Well, as I said, we are very proud of our world-leading modern slavery regime. We’ve got world-leading protections on human trafficking, proud of protections the Conservative government have put in place to protect genuine victims of modern slavery.”
The new strategy, which will be put forward in Parliament, relies on a two-tiered plan: The government first aims to stop boats crossing the English Channel, and will then introduce an annual limit on the number of people will be offered asylum through legal routes.
Sunak told a press conference that illegal arrivals would be deported from Britain “within weeks” under the new strategy, which would also apply retroactively.
Opposition figures criticized the plan, with Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper telling the BBC: “I think that they are being irresponsible in the way they’re doing this. Time and again they go for the gimmicks, they go for the rhetoric, they ramp up the debate on this, but they don’t actually solve the problem.”