Statement on Illegal Migration Bill ahead of House of Commons Report Stage

Published: 24 Apr 2023

The Illegal Migration Bill risks breaching international obligations to protect human rights and exposing individuals to serious harm.

Ahead of the House of Commons Report Stage on the Illegal Migration Bill taking place on 26 April, we have published a further briefing to advise on the equality and human rights implications of the proposed law. 

The EHRC remains seriously concerned that the Bill risks placing the UK in breach of its international legal obligations to protect human rights, and exposing people to serious harm.

Provisions providing for the detention of children and pregnant women, and removing protections for victims of trafficking and modern slavery are particularly worrying.

Effective, rights-compliant action is needed to ensure that more lives are not lost on dangerous Channel crossings. We welcome the Government’s commitment to increase safe, regular routes to the UK for those in need of asylum, and recommend these are brought forward alongside the Bill.

Our key areas of concern in the Bill are that it: 

  • Undermines the core principle of the universality of human rights; 
  • Removes protections for victims of trafficking and modern slavery; 
  • Risks breaching the Refugee Convention by restricting the right to asylum and penalising refugees; 
  • Risks breaching human rights protections under the ECHR and the principle of non-refoulement; 
  • Includes broad provisions for detention, including of children and pregnant women; and 
  • Insufficiently considers the impact for different groups with certain protected characteristics. This includes children, women (including pregnant women) and disabled people, as well as other groups who are particularly vulnerable, including torture survivors and people who have been trafficked.

Press contact details

For more press information contact the Commission's media office on:

0161 829 8102