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United against un-British and sinister Nationality and Borders Bill

PRESS RELEASE

16 DECEMBER 2021

Faith and civil society groups publish joint statement warning against the un-British and sinister Nationality and Borders Bill

A coalition of faith and civil society groups today published a joint statement calling for Parliamentarians and Peers to speak out and vote against the Nationality and Borders Bill.

The Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons on the 8th of December and will now face a second reading in the House of Lords on 5th January, 2022.

The statement warns that the bill threatens “our historic tradition of being a welcoming place, governed by the rule of law”, as the expansive bill will bring into law a raft of new legislation making the asylum process more difficult and more sweeping powers for the Government to revoke British citizenship without notice or appeal.

Secretary-General, Zara Mohammed said: “This is a draconian Bill that will have devastating consequences on a cross-section of our communities and wider society. It is an affront to human rights and the rule of law. Nationality and citizenship are not a privilege but a human right. They cannot be removed, as this Bill allows for, by the Government and without question or appeal.

The joint statement brings together leading organisations who know just how anxious communities on the ground are about this Bill and its consequences. Our appeal to decision-makers is to vote against this Bill.”

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JOINT STATEMENT

16th December 2021

United Against Un-British and sinister Nationality and Borders Bill

We oppose Clause 9 of Bill that allows the government to arbitrarily strip Britons of their citizenship

We are a diverse range of civil society and faith organisations who have come together to speak out against the proposed provisions detailed in the forthcoming Nationality and Borders Bill.  We are a nation made all the richer by those who have made this country home, coming here to build a better life or seek sanctuary from persecution. The proposed Nationality and Borders Bill threatens our historic tradition of being a welcoming place, governed by the rule of law.

There are many provisions in the Nationality and Borders Bill that fail to safeguard the rights of those who are seeking asylum, makes the asylum process more laborious and potentially fails to comply with the UK’s legal obligations under Articles 3 and 31 of the Refugee Convention.

We particularly oppose Clause 9 of the proposed Bill, ‘Notice of decision to deprive a person of citizenship.’ This clause gives the Home Secretary unprecedented power to remove a British person’s citizenship in secret, without any notice and effectively without any appeal. Communities across the UK are concerned and deeply alarmed by these measures, particularly in the wake of the Windrush scandal. We believe that this Bill could render many British people second class citizens:  they risk living in fear under a sword of Damocles wondering when they will be deemed stateless without any recourse to the law.

The Bill has already passed through the major stages of the House of Commons and will be due before the House of Lords on 5 January. We urge members of the House of Lords to speak out and vote against this bill.  Before it is fully enacted into law, we urge all parliamentarians – from both the House of Commons and the House of Lords – to pay heed to the danger this poses to our tradition of upholding human rights before it is too late.

SIGNED BY:

Zara Mohammed, Muslim Council of Britain
Kudsia Batool, Trade Unions Congress
Maya Foa, Reprieve
Sabir Zazai, Scottish Refugee Council
Ben Jackson, Refugee Reform Initiative
Dr Edie Friedman ,Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Amritpal Singh Dhesi, Sikh Council UK
Dr Abdul Azim Ahmed, Muslim Council of Wales
Dr Muhammad Adrees, Muslim Council of Scotland
Bishop Paul Hendricks & Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra (Co-chairs), Christian Muslim Forum

Photo credit: @ukhouseoflords

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