Access to Social Justice for Migrant & Refugee Peoples in the UK

UK to go on Trial for Violations of the Rights of Migrants and Refugees

The judgment of an international Tribunal can be a powerful voice for change, and in preparation for the hearing of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on violations of migrants’ and refugees’ rights, which is taking place in London in November, this message is a call to migrant and refugee groups and to unions, civil society and church groups to support the Tribunal and above all, to submit evidence to it.

The focus at that PPT Hearing will be on the violation of rights to livelihood and the facilitation of the exploitation of migrants and refugees as workers, in the UK chain of labour.

Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) – To Sit in London – November 2018

PPT the international public opinion tribunal established in the 1970s to draw attention to human rights violations worldwide, is scheduled to hear evidence from UK migrant and refugee rights organisations, trades unions, civil society support groups and others to lay out clearly the effects of restrictive visa policies, extortionate fees, the ban on work for asylum seekers, employer sanctions, the right to rent, as well as the virtual abolition of legal aid and of appeals, and all the other policies which make it impossible for people to remain without working and simultaneously criminalise work, forcing people into precarious and illegal work. It is also a platform for the celebration of resistance – the migrant-led strikes and the campaigns which have forced a retreat on some Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ policies. The London Tribunal will focus on the rights of migrants in the chain of labour, violations and resistance.

In seven charges, the Indictment lays out the responsibility of the British government (in its own right and as a member of the EU) for neglecting the rights of the domestic workforce and for the creation of an underclass of super-exploited, disposable, deportable workers.

  1. The Defendant government has abdicated its international law obligations to protect workers and ensure decent working conditions and fair pay.

  2. Within an impoverished and insecure workforce, it has ensured that migrant and refugee workers often remain super-exploited, marginalised and deprived of rights by legal and operational measures including:

  3. Meanwhile, the Defendant’s policies with regard to immigration and asylum have fostered racism, Islamophobia and nativism, and have deliberately created a ‘hostile environment’ for non-citizens which involves (in addition to the criminalisation of work) enforced destitution, denial of rights to housing and essential medical treatment, indefinite detention and deportation. These policies violate international human rights obligations to protect rights to life, to dignity, to physical and psychological integrity, to respect for private and family life, to liberty, and to protection from forced labour and from inhuman and degrading treatment.  This has been achieved through:

  4. The Defendant, by policies which make it impossible to live without working and simultaneously making work illegal, forces vulnerable people to accept conditions of super-exploitation and total insecurity as the price of remaining in the country, and enables private companies to profit from such super-exploitation.
  5. Additionally, while EU free movement law recognises the importance of family unity for EEA nationals who move in order to work, the Defendant’s family reunion rules for non-EEA nationals (whether they are admitted as workers or as refugees) are extremely restrictive and result in long-term separation of families. 

  6. These policies also work to the detriment of the rights of children, who are exposed to risks of exploitation and abuse when they attempt to migrate in their own right, or to hardship and destitution as a consequence of policies which deny public funds support to family migrants.

  7. At the same time, the Defendant government, in its own right and as an EU member state, facilitates the making of vast profits by security corporations  through contracts for the border security regime, the housing of asylum seekers and for the detention and deportation of migrants, while overlooking or condoning brutality, racism and other human rights violations, criminal offences, fraud and negligence, committed by their agents against migrants and refugees, in fact rewarding them through the continuing award of such contracts. 

Read the full Indictment Charges:       

Call for Evidence: We are seeking evidence from concerned organisations which addresses any aspect of the issues raised in the indictment, read more here.

Call for support, the purpose of this request is to ask whether your organisation could register its support for the London hearing by agreeing to support our Call to hold a Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on Violations with Impunity of the Human Rights of Migrant and Refugee Peoples' in London.