MSF REACTION: Lords vote to drop Borders Bill 'offshoring' clause

On Wednesday 2 March, the House of Lords voted for an amendment to remove clause 28 from the Nationality and Borders Bill. This clause would have given the Government powers to send asylum seekers and refugees to another country where they would be detained indefinitely whilst their asylum claims are processed, known as ‘offshoring’. The amendment to remove this class passed, 208 votes to 155.

Sophie McCann, MSF UK Advocacy Officer said:

“This harmful and potentially lethal policy should never have made it into the Bill, let alone to the Lords.

"We heard arguments in the Lord's today that held up Australia's offshoring policy as a shining example, but MSF teams have seen first-hand the horrific consequences of Australian ‘offshoring’ on Nauru Island. On Nauru, our mental health teams treated refugees and asylum seekers with a profound sense of hopelessness. The indefinite detention, neglect and abuse people suffered shattered their will to live. As a result, our project recorded some of the most acute mental health suffering MSF has seen in our 50 years of existence.

"It is devastating that two thirds of our patients had self-harmed, had suicidal thoughts, or had attempted suicide, including children as young as nine.

“We are relieved that this amendment to remove Clause 28 has passed, and urge MPs to do the right thing and ensure that this harmful, cruel policy is dropped entirely when the bill returns to the Commons."

About MSF UK

This is the press room for MSF UK - the UK office of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF UK's privacy notice is available here.

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