It’s the anniversary of the uprising in Syria. With the death toll having reached around the 8000 mark, the grim discovery earlier this week of yet more dead children’s bodies, and the apparent planting, by Syrian forces, of landmines to prevent refugee flows out of Syria, one might have hoped for a sufficiently compassionate and humane response from the Coalition – afterall the UK was actively involved in drafting the UDHR which enshrines the the right to seek and enjoy asylum in precisely such circumstances. So what has the Coalition’s response to all of this been?
Direct airside transit visas (DATV)
Since 2003 individuals from specified countries have been required to go through the process of paying for, and making a formal application for a Direct Airside Transit Visa to come the UK before they travel, in circumstances where they are simply transiting in the UK on route to another destination.
Eralier this week whilst noting that that ‘the situation in Syria continues to pose concern to us and the wider community’ the Home Secretary announced her intention to require nationals from Syria to apply for DAVTs.
Given that there is no such thing as a visa for asylum as such, it doesn’t take a genuis to figure out why the imposition of DATVs are deeply problematic. To cut a long story short, the effect of this will inevitably be that some asylum seekers will either not be able to flee from Syria, or will have their departure delayed. The consequences of this may well be death, torture and other abuses.
Libyan and Egyption nationals
Of course the story doesn’t just end there. With Ban Ki- Moon this week expressing ‘deep concerns’ about systematic abuses in Libya in the form of illegal arrests, revenge attacks and death resulting from torture , and Amnesty International documenting ongoing human rights abuses in Egypt including a ‘systematic failure to rein excessive force by security forces, May has also indicated that Libyan and Egyption nationals are also to be added to the scheme.
What can you do?
If you’re appalled by the UK’s response to recent developments, and if you believe that as a human rights respecting democratic country there is something quite grotesque about this, why not wack of an e mail to your MP and let them know how you feel? Better still why not do this, and encourage others to do so too.