Last week (20th July 2023), the government’s anti-migrant Illegal Migration Bill passed as an Act of Parliament.
The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) is proud to be part of a broad coalition opposing this cruel new law which will be deeply harmful to people seeking safety, including victims and survivors of gender-based violence.
This law is designed to punish. It sets out to divide us, but we won’t let it. EVAW is one of an astounding 290 civil organisations, spanning the human rights, migrants’ rights, refugee and asylum, anti-trafficking, children’s, violence against women and girls, LGBTQI+, disability rights, health, housing, racial justice, criminal justice, arts, international development, environment, democracy, pan-equality, faith, and access to justice sectors coming together to condemn the new law and stand with those affected. Our solidarity and resistance is more important than ever.
The new Illegal Migration Act abandons the UK’s moral and legal obligations, and risks breaching multiple international human rights treaties, including the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. It does this while shielding the government from accountability – a government that has admitted that it cannot confirm if the Act is compatible with the UK’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
This new law also attacks the fundamental concept of universal human rights – something that has been integral to women’s rights movements and continues to support survivors to access justice and accountability.
This is a worrying agenda we are seeing across government, including in the widely denounced ‘Bill of Rights’ (known as the Rights Removal Bill) which aimed to dismantle our Human Rights Act. While this Bill was recently shelved, some of its measures have been covertly dispersed into other Bills, including the Illegal Migration Act and the new Victims and Prisoners Bill. Any attack on the principle of universal human rights undermines our work to end violence against women and girls, and harms us all.
Janaya Walker, Public Affairs Manager at the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), said:
“This Illegal Migration Act will put some of the most marginalised people directly in harm’s way. It is also the latest in a slew of politically motivated legislation designed to divide and weaken us by undermining our human rights.
We reject the weaponisation of violence against women to justify the passing of some of the most regressive laws in generations: the Illegal Migration Act is now added to a growing list which includes the Nationality and Borders Act, the Policing Act and Public Order Act. None of these laws are in our name.
We all deserve to be free from harm and live our lives in safety, including those who cross borders. Either all of us have human rights, or none of us do. We must remain vigilant to the government’s agenda to undermine our human rights, and build a future in which we are all free from violence and harm.”