Death by visa?

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.

About jcwi

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants is a key campaigning voice in the field of immigration, asylum and nationality law and policy. It is completely independent from government funding, remaining entirely free from government influence. View all posts by jcwi

3 responses to “Death by visa?

  • Salman Shahzad

    I do not why every body is against security forces in Syria. they are human as well. why people are not staying at home. who is behind them and pushing them to turn against their own government. Like wise riots in London when the security forces have to take action against the young people

  • Lionel Barnes

    This only serves to prove and confirm that the current home secretary, ukba, immigration minister and prime minister do not have any compassion. Be it regarding asylum or the continued addition of insurmountable rules for spouses. It seems there only objective is to force British citizens to leave the country and asylum seekers to be forced into staying in their oppressive countries or making it so impossible that they make illegal attempts. Britain ( I refuse point blank to include Great) is fast becoming an isolated island both in terms of immigration and the world economy. I for one am in the process of selling up so I can move to somewhere in Europe where my Russian wife will be permitted to live with me.

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