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Safeguarding concerns in the Illegal Migration Bill
  1. Catherine Branthwaite
  1. Paediatrics, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catherine Branthwaite, Paediatrics, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, W2 1NY, UK; cathy.branthwaite{at}

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Seeking asylum from persecution is a basic global human right, as outlined in the United Nations (UN) 1951 Refugee Convention.1 The proposed Illegal Migration Bill, by the government’s own admission, is unlikely to adhere to the principles and values stated in the UN Refugee Convention and the European Court of Human Rights, and would consequently break international law.2 3

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children comprise approximately half of the refugee cohort in the UK who are under the age of 18 years; 7% of the total asylum applications in 2022 were from unaccompanied minors, with a 20% increase of applications compared with the previous year.4 In 2021, there were 4382 asylum applications from unaccompanied children, of which 91% were granted refugee status.4 As outlined in the Children Act 1989, the UK has a statutory duty to safeguard all children; a child remains a child, regardless of their country of origin.

The home secretary, Suella Braverman, has introduced a new proposal in March 2023 deemed the Illegal Migration Bill. The aim of the Bill is to deter people from crossing the channel by preventing asylum claims in the UK using detention and deportation. This Bill …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.