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Asylum Report Slams Border Official decisions

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Asylum Report Slams Border Official decisions

Post  Panda on Fri 11 Oct - 5:22

Asylum Report Slams Border Official DecisionsA group of MPs claims border officials are granting asylum to people "who later emerge to be involved with terrorist activity".4:13am UK, Friday 11 October 2013 The MPs' report says the asylum system is under 'severe pressure'
EmailBritain is at risk of harbouring war criminals and terrorists due to poor decisions made by border officials, a group of MPs has warned in a damning report on asylum.

The Home Affairs Select Committee said 30% of appeals against initial decisions were allowed in 2012, raising concerns about decisions to grant asylum to people "who later emerge to be involved with terrorist activity".

It was recently reported that al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al Libi, who was seized by US special forces almost a week ago in the Libyan capital Tripoli, was granted political asylum in Britain during the 1990s.

However, it is now understood al Libi was never granted asylum in the UK.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: "Those who apply for asylum should be checked against national and international law enforcement agency and security databases to ensure that we are not harbouring those who intend us harm.

"The Home Secretary has to assure us that any anomalies in the process, which have allowed decisions such as this to take place, are addressed immediately."

A backlog of 32,600 asylum cases that should have been resolved in 2011 are yet to be concluded, the report found.

The number of applicants still waiting for an initial decision after six months rose by 63% last year, with some waiting up to 16 years, the report added.

The MPs also raised concerns about the "appalling" housing conditions faced by asylum-seekers, as well as the pressure placed on gay applicants to prove their sexual orientation.

In 2012, there were 21,955 applications for asylum in the UK. As of September 19 this year, of those 21,955 cases, 18,423 have received an initial decision and 12,632 have been concluded.

It means that 3,523 people who applied for asylum in 2012 have yet to receive an initial decision.

Committee chair Keith Vaz MP says 'anomalies' need to be addressed

Mr Vaz said: "The asylum system is overburdened and under severe pressure. The system needs to work, otherwise applicants are trapped in a cycle of helplessness and vulnerability."

Maurice Wren, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said the findings reflected the "grave concerns" about the UK asylum system that the charity "has been highlighting for years".

"Failing to treat asylum seekers with dignity and, simultaneously, failing to deal effectively and fairly with their claims has created an expensive and counter-productive bureaucratic nightmare that all too often denies vulnerable people the protection from persecution and oppression they desperately need," he said.

But a Home Office spokesman insisted the UK "has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it".

He said: "We are committed to concluding all cases as quickly as possible, but asylum cases are often complex and require full and thorough consideration.

"We have robust mechanisms in place to monitor standards of housing provided to asylum seekers."
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