…not for every aspect of life:
Freedom should be enjoyed by all. This is a comforting and simple enough idea that we like to take as a given. We sometimes qualify it by adding “except of course those who break the law”, but those are the usual parameters.
Assuming the judicial process is fair, most of us vaguely understand that when a crime is committed, the (potential) criminal may be charged, judged as deserving of punishment and, finally, punished. This is what we call due process.
Yes, and..? Just where are you going with this?
People seeking asylum are regularly detained indefinitely, without a charge or trial. Their crime, presumably, is daring to seek asylum in the first place.
No. They don’t need to have committed a crime to be detained. You’ve made the classic mistake there of assuming the only recourse to detention is enjoyed by criminals.
Doesn’t this have a whiff of the feudal about it? Distinguishing one particular group – one of the most vulnerable – as criminal for simply being in the UK is, yes, draconian. It gets worse when we remember that these are people fleeing conflict and persecution.
No, they are people claiming they are fleeing conflict and persecution. A claim we are entitled to test.
And frankly, if they are whinging about being housed, clothed and fed for free while we test that claim, then I think we have grounds for doubting its veracity, don’t we?
Yesterday the campaign charity Women for Refugee Women launched an action outside the Home Office to mark International Women’s Day. As part of the #SetHerFree campaign, the charity delivered 99 signed postcards from women – I was one of them – with messages in support of refugee women.
And what about refugee men…?
My message to the Home Office yesterday was, “seeking asylum isn’t an offence”. Yet the fact that yesterday’s action was centred around pregnant refugee women shows that the act of seeking asylum is generally viewed as being criminal. It is inhumane to lock up any asylum seeker, but the pragmatic approach has been to focus on the most disadvantaged, to shame our government into recognising the plight of women who are victims of torture, sexual violence and those that are pregnant. These groups tug at our heart strings and are more likely to move us to outrage.
Ah. The Baby Seal gambit. Nice try, Lola, but my heart strings remain unplucked.