It often strikes me that the ones who have the most to gain or lose from an election are the ones who have no say in the outcome. Palestinians and Iranians were not involved in the election of Donald Trump but they are certainly affected by his foreign policy. Those most vulnerable to climate change are not able to vote for the Green Party in the most polluting countries. And refugees fleeing persecution or war are not able to shape the border policies of the countries they run to.
The right to vote is, unfortunately, a privilege not everyone has. For me, that means it’s important to take into account the interests of others when exercising that right. Whilst there are of course many important issues to consider in this election, here is a brief overview of the main parties’ policies on refugees.
There is little coverage of the issue in the Conservative manifesto, but it pledges to continue to provide asylum to refugees and to return them to their homes when it is safe to do so.
Labour promises to:
- Work with other organisations to restart rescue missions in the Mediterranean and end the camps in France
- Provide safe and legal routes for asylum seekers
- Give refugees in the UK the right to work and access to public services
- End indefinite detention, review the conditions in two detention centres and close two of nine existing centres
- Immediately suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen
The Liberal Democrats have a number of specific pledges, including:
- Resettling 10,000 refugees a year and a further 10,000 unaccompanied minors over the next ten years
- Expanding family reunion rights
- Giving asylum seekers the right to work three months after applying for asylum
- Introducing a 28-day limit on detention and closing seven of nine detention centres
- Suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia
The Green Party has a number of specific pledges, including:
- Ending indefinite detention and closing immigration detention centres
- Granting refugees the right to work whilst their applications are considered
- Guaranteeing safe access to public services
- Replacing the Home Office with a ‘Ministry for Sanctuary’
- Re-starting a European sea-rescuing mission
- Ending arms sales by the government and ending government support for the arms industry