“There are serious risks that the principle of international law prohibiting return will be violated by forcibly relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda,” said Shiohan Mulali of the United Nations. Special Rapporteur on trafficking in human beingsespecially women and children.
“People seeking international protection, fleeing conflict and persecution have the right to seek and enjoy asylum.” the basic principle of international human rights law and refugee law“She said.
The Special Rapporteur welcomes the urgent interim measures of the European Court of Human Rights, which ordered a flight earlier this week due to the transfer of a small group of asylum seekers to the Central African nation.
Increased risk of exploitation
“The transfer of asylum seekers to third countries does nothing to prevent or combat trafficking in human beings, in fact, is likely to push desperate people into more risky and dangerous situations, “she said. Said Mulali. “Instead of reducing human trafficking, it is likely to increase the risks of exploitation.”
The Special Rapporteur is concerned that the agreement does not guarantee the rights of asylum seekers who are victims of trafficking and seek protection in the United Kingdom. Those victims and those at risk of trafficking could be transferred under the agreement, she said.
“There are inadequate safeguards to ensure that victims of trafficking or those at risk of trafficking are identified, that assistance is provided and that effective access to international protection is guaranteed. They risk further victimization and trauma by being transferred to a third country, “the Special Rapporteur added.
“I am also concerned that there are insufficient guarantees against the risks of trafficking or re-trafficking for those who may be denied asylum or arbitrarily relocated to another state in Rwanda.”
Miss. Mulali echoed fears from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees around difficulties that arise in discovering traumatic experiences – as trafficking – in screening interviews for asylum seekers, usually conducted soon after arrival.
Under the agreement, the UK authorities will carry out an initial check before deciding whether a person can be transferred.
The independent expert said that the initial screening was not sufficient to identify and identify specific protection needs of asylum seekers, including victims of trafficking.
Previous human rights concerns
The Special Rapporteur has previously raised his fears on the Law on Nationality and Borders and its potentially adverse impact on the human rights of victims of trafficking.
She has also repeatedly expressed concern to the international community about the growing trend to place migration within the paradigm of criminal law enforcement.
“Restrictive measures related to migration are presented as part of efforts to combat organized crime, including trafficking in human beings, regardless of how the measures may affect the human rights of migrants and trafficked persons,” the UN expert said.
Make migration safer
She called on countries to pave the way for safe, orderly and regular migration without discrimination in order to combat human trafficking.
Resettlement programs, family reunification measures and humanitarian visas were more effective ways to prevent the trafficking of fugitives from persecution and conflict, the special rapporteur said.
She called on all states to abide by their international obligations with regard to the principle of non-refoulement, which ensures that no one should be returned to a country where he or she may face irreparable damage.
“We must not allow the aim of combating trafficking in human beings to be abused in an attempt to undermine the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution.and the principle of non-refoulement, ”she concluded.
The Special Rapporteurs shall report to Human Rights Council and act in their individual capacity. They are not UN employees and are not paid for their work.