What it means when we call people illegal

More than 60 years ago European leaders gathered to sign the European Convention on Human Rights; a landmark international treaty born out of the horrors of the Second World War, and championed by the then British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. The Convention declares that human rights are “the foundation of peace and justice in the world” and that they are ‘universal’ – they apply to everyone.

Decades later one group is still denied humanity and rights; here in the UK we even go so far as to label their very existence unlawful. Illegal migrants, bogus asylum seekers. The phrasing is used in the British press (broadsheets, tabloids and broadcasters alike) and by politicians and civil servants. This language matters, and it needs to be more seriously challenged.

The protection gap, asylum seeking women lack rights in Britain

We are failing women survivors of rape and violence, simply because they have come to this country seeking protection. There is a glaring hypocrisy in the way we treat women survivors of rape and violence in Britain. We make advances to protect survivors of abuse at home and around the world, but then allow women seeking asylum to fall through a protection gap and deny them the same standards of care as other women. At Asylum Aid we’ve started a new campaign to persuade the Home Secretary to close this protection gap by applying equal standards of protection from violence to asylum-seeking women and girls too.

Photo by Cao Minh Đức