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Under Home Office plans, refugees who cross the Channel in small boats to reach the UK will be electronically tagged and prosecuted if they do not comply

 

Campaigners and experts have accused ministers of taking a draconian and punitive approach that will treat people in conflict and danger as criminals, and of pushing the plan through despite the lack of concrete evidence that it will improve compliance levels.

 

According to new Home Office guidance, a 12-month pilot will see some of those who travel to Britain via unnecessary and dangerous routes, including potentially those recognised as victims of torture and trafficking, fitted with tags.

 

If tagging conditions are violated, asylum seekers may face detention and removal, administrative arrest, or prosecution, according to the document.

 

Earlier this week, the government was chastised for its controversial Rwanda deportation plan, with a flight carrying asylum seekers to central Africa being forced to cancel at the last minute after European judges intervened on human rights grounds.

 

Some of the 130 asylum seekers detained for removal on the flight are expected to be the first to be fitted with electronic tags if and when they are released.

 

According to Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, “it is appalling that this government is determined to treat men, women, and children who have fled war, bloodshed, and persecution as criminals.”

 

This draconian and punitive approach not only shows no compassion for the most vulnerable people, but it also does nothing to deter those desperate for safety in the UK.