Joint Civil Society Solidarity Statement on the Illegal Migration Bill

Joint civil society solidarity statement on the Illegal Migration Bill ahead of Second Reading in the House of Lords, May 2023

As a coalition of 175 civil society organisations representing the human rights, migrant, refugee, asylum, anti-slavery and trafficking, children’s, violence against women and girls, LGBTQI+, disability rights, health, housing, racial justice, criminal justice, arts, international development, environment, democracy, pan-equality, faith, access to justice, and other sectors, we call on Parliamentarians to urge the Government to immediately withdraw the ‘Illegal Migration Bill’.

We all deserve to live safe from harm and to be treated with compassion, dignity, and respect. But this shockingly cruel and inhumane Bill turns our country’s back on people fleeing war and persecution, blocking them from protection, support, or justice at a time they need it most. The Bill is effectively a ban on asylum, extinguishing the right to seek refugee protection in the United Kingdom. It will put people seeking safety and a better life at risk of irreversible harm, with life and death consequences.

This Bill attacks the very core of human rights, which is the fundamental belief that we all have human rights regardless of who we are or where we are from. Instead, it separates people into categories of ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ of human rights. In stripping the most basic rights from people seeking safety and a better life, the Bill dismantles human rights protections for all of us.

The Bill deliberately and unacceptably excludes an entire category of people from the protections guaranteed under our domestic laws and international obligations. It will almost certainly breach multiple international conventions and agreements, including the UN Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (ECAT). The Government has acknowledged that it cannot guarantee the Bill will be compatible with the ECHR, a legally binding instrument. The Convention represents the rights and values that we hold dear, including the right to life, protection from slavery and torture, and the right to liberty, which are all threatened by this Bill.

Not only does the Bill substantially threaten human rights, it aims to shield the Government from accountability when it does violate those rights by reducing parliamentary and judicial scrutiny. The Bill includes the unprecedented and alarming proposal to disapply Section 3 of the Human Rights Act, which empowers our judges to interpret laws in a way that protects our rights. Without that protection, individuals affected by this Bill are limited from getting justice when their rights are violated.

The Bill hands vast delegated powers to the Secretary of State, including the power to amend laws in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, despite the fact that human rights are largely a devolved matter. The Bill would also enable Ministers to ignore interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights – a rare yet vital last resort to halt proceedings like deportations when people’s lives are deemed at risk of extreme and irreversible harm.

This Bill would almost certainly be unlawful domestically and internationally. The Bill signals to the international community that the Government intends to commit human rights abuses while evading scrutiny and accountability, setting a dangerous example to other states.

More importantly, these cruel and inhumane plans are a stain on our collective moral conscience, attacking the values we cherish as a democratic, rights-respecting society. This Bill is a dangerous piece of legislation that will most certainly lead to irreparable harm, grave suffering, and possible deaths if enacted.

We stand united in solidarity with the individuals and families who would be directly harmed, and oppose the Government’s divisive attacks on refugees, migrants, victims and survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery, and other people who move. We fiercely reject any attempts to undermine the universality of human rights. We urge all Parliamentarians to urge the Government to withdraw the Bill.



  1. Danielle Roberts, Senior Policy and Development Officer, Here NI
  2. Andrea Cleaver, CEO, Welsh Refugee Council
  3. Paul Hook, Director, Asylum Matters
  4. Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, National AIDS Trust
  5. Saqib Deshmukh, Interim CEO, Alliance for Youth Justice
  6. Deborah Coles, Executive Director, INQUEST
  7. Chris Jones, Director, Statewatch
  8. Declan Owens, Co-Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
  9. Declan Owens, CEO, Ecojustice Ireland
  10. DavidWeaver,Chair,OBV
  11. Lee Jasper, Co-Founder, Blaksox
  12. JessMcQuail,Director,JustFair
  13. EmmaHutton,CEO,JustRightScotland
  14. Chloe Trew, Director, ParticipationandthePracticeofRights
  15. Jonathan Senker, CEO, VoiceAbility
  16. Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, Humanists UK
  17. Tim Naor Hilton, Chief Executive, Refugee Action
  18. Victoria Marks, Director, ATLEU
  19. Clare Moseley, Chair, Care4Calais
  20. Susanna Revolti, CEO, Borderlands
  21. Mauricio Silva, IRD Coordinator, Columbans in Britain
  22. Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, René Cassin, the Jewish voice for human rights
  23. Amber Bauer, CEO, forRefugees
  24. Lucy Nabijou, Coordinator, Haringey Welcome
  25. Jane Lees, CEO, CommunityWorks
  26. Ruhi Akhtar, CEO, Refugee Biriyani & Bananas
  27. Naabil Khan, Volunteer Coordinator, STAR Exeter
  28. Jeremy Thompson, Manager, Restore (a project of Birmingham Churches Together)
  29. Miranda Reilly, Director, The Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees
  30. Aisling Playford, Policy and Advocacy Manager, Rainbow Project
  31. Toni Soni, Centre Director, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre
  32. Suleiman Abdulahi, Managing Director, Horn of Africa People’s Aid Northern Ireland
  33. Jabbar Hasan, Director, Iraqi Association
  34. Jeannie Tweedie, Co-Director, Elmbridge CAN
  35. Kayte Cable and Vicki Felgate, Co-Founders, Big Leaf Foundation
  36. Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO, African Rainbow Family
  37. Sampson Low, Head of Policy, UNISON
  38. Gisela Valle, Director, Latin American Women’s Rights Service
  39. Aderonke Apata, Founder and Chairperson, Manchester Migrant Solidarity
  40. Sue Lacey, Founder, Together100
  41. Eleni Venaki, Director, The Comfrey Project
  42. Karen Pearse, Director, Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers
  43. Amos Schonfield, CEO, Our Second Home
  44. Chloe Crowther, Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers Campaign
  45. Tom Brake, Director, Unlock Democracy
  46. Sebastian Rocca, Founder and CEO, Micro Rainbow
  47. Sheila Mosley, Steering Group member, Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network – QARN
  48. Mel Steel, Director, Voices in Exile
  49. Ewan Roberts, CEO, Asylum Link Merseyside
  50. William Gomes, Director, The William Gomes Podcast
  51. Dr Razia Shariff, CEO, Kent Refugee Action Network
  52. Andrea Simon, Director, End Violence Against Women Coalition
  53. Emily Crowley, Chief Executive, Student Action for Refugees (STAR)
  54. Tamsin Cook, Co-Artistic Director, Mafwa Theatre
  55. Rose Caldwell, CEO, Plan International UK
  56. Isobel Ingham-Barrow, CEO, Community Policy Forum
  57. Clare Moody, Co-CEO, Equally Ours
  58. Sadia Sikandar, Advisory Board, West End Refugee Services
  59. Rosie MacPherson, Artistic Director & Joint CEO, Stand & Be Counted Theatre
  60. Efi Stathopoulou, Programmes Manager, Refugee Legal Support
  61. Ros Gowers, Coordinator, Evesham Vale Welcomes Refugees
  62. Margaret Lennon, Director, Bridges Programmes
  63. Daniel Boyle, Senior Parliamentary and Policy Officer, BEMIS Scotland
  64. Elayne Hill, CEO, Central England Law Centre
  65. Angus Clark, Chief Executive, Herts for Refugees
  66. Liz Needham, Chair of Trustees, St Albans for Refugees
  67. Jean-Pierre Moussally, community councillor of the agglomeration of Grand Calais Terres & Mers, EELV (French Green Party)
  68. Nancy Kelley, CEO, Stonewall
  69. Juliet Harris, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), Director
  70. Shameem Ahmad, CEO, Public Law Project
  71. Emma Ginn, Director, Medical Justice
  72. Pete Ritchie, Director, Nourish Scotland
  73. Fraser Sutherland, Chief Executive, Humanist Society Scotland
  74. Alexandra Lopoukhine, Interim Executive Director, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
  75. Georgina Fletcher, Chief Officer, Regional Refugee Forum North East
  76. Catharine Walston, Trustee, Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign
  77. Catharine Walston, Chair of Executive, Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group
  78. Rev Peta Evans, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of North London
  79. Jenni Regan, CEO, IMIX
  80. Bridget Young, Director, NACCOM
  81. AndrewJackson,ChiefExecutive,UpbeatCommunities
  82. Sarah Fenby-Dixon, trustee, Refugee Aid Network
  83. Kat Lorenz, Director, Asylum Support Appeals Project
  84. Mhairi Snowden, Director, Human Rights Consortium Scotland
  85. National Committee, Women for Independence
  86. Will Sutcliffe, Chair, Bradford City of Sanctuary
  87. Charles Dobson, Chairman, Skipton Refugee Support Group
  88. Angie Pedley Co-ordinator, Craven Refugee Support Network
  89. Angie Pedley, Co-ordinator, Craven District of Sanctuary
  90. Robert Rae, Co-Director, Art27 Scotland
  91. AmandaJones,CEO,ShropshireSupportsRefugees
  92. Amy Lythgoe, Trustee, Together Now
  93. Zara Mohammed, Secretary-General, Muslim Council of Britain
  94. Maggie Pearse, Chair, BIASAN (Bradford Immigration and Asylum Support and Advice Network)
  95. Daniel Tsz Kin Kwok, Director, The Hong Kong Scots CIC
  96. Gail Heath, CEO, Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid)
  97. Steve Newman, Chair, FODI (Friends of the Drop In for asylum seekers and refugees, Sunderland)
  98. Alphonsine Kabagabo, Director, Women for Refugee Women
  99. Tim Hopkins, Director, Equality Network
  100. Gill Tipping, Co-chair, Lewes Organisation in Support of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (LOSRAS)
  101. Lilian Geijsen, European Director, Ben & Jerry’s
  102. Sian Summers-Rees, Chief Officer, City of Sanctuary UK
  103. Chloe Wolfe, Charity Manager, Swindon City of Sanctuary
  104. Helen Hodgson, Operations Director, Hope at Home
  105. Lisa Norcross, Project and Fundraising Manager, Kairos Housing
  106. Alan Gray, Chair, Forth Valley Migrant Support Network
  107. Amanda Church-Mcfarlane, Co-CEO, Abigail Housing
  108. Clare Campbell, Operations Manager, Walking With in North Tyneside
  109. Stroud District Together With Refugees
  110. Martha Spurrier, Director, Liberty
  111. Nick Beales, Head of Campaigns, RAMFEL
  112. Revd Jide Macaulay, Chief Executive Officer, House of Rainbow CIC
  113. Lade Olugbemi, The Nous Organisation
  114. Sandy Brindley, Chief Executive, Rape Crisis Scotland
  115. Dennis Carney, Chair, Black Connection
  116. Ros Holland, Chief Exec, Boaz Trust
  117. Ted Britton, Chair of Trustees, WYDAN
  118. Gwen Hines, Chief Executive, Save the Children
  119. Jamie Balfour-Paul, Founder, Magic for Smiles
  120. Avril Sharp, Policy Officer, Kalayaan
  121. Dania Thomas, Director, Ubuntu Women Shelter
  122. Mark Courtice, Chair of Trustees, Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group
  123. Agnes Tolmie, Chair, The Scottish Women’s Convention
  124. Kate Alexander, Director, Scottish Detainee Visitors
  125. Simon Tyler, Director, Doctors of the World
  126. Sacha Deshmukh, Chief Executive, Amnesty International UK
  127. Dr. Patrick Roach, General Secretary, NASUWT
  128. James Wilson, Director, Detention Action
  129. Anna Lewis, CEO, Open Door North East
  130. Simon Cheng, Director, Hongkongers in Britain
  131. Jane Grimshaw, Convenor Hastings Supports Refugees
  132. Julie Bishop, Director, Law Centres Network
  133. Sattinder Collins, Chair, Tees Valley of Sanctuary
  134. Elizabeth Long, Partnerships, Refugee, Asylum seeker & Migrant Action (RAMA)
  135. Stephanie Neville, Project Manager, Stories of Hope and Home
  136. Alison Pickup, Director, Asylum Aid
  137. Kerry Smith, CEO, Helen Bamber Foundation
  138. Ailsa Dunn Secretary Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees
  139. Reverend Gerard Goshawk, Minister, Six Ways Erdington Baptist Church
  140. Clare Henry, Management Committee, Exeter City of Sanctuary
  141. Hayley Nelson BEM, Director, Learn for Life Enterprise
  142. Sanchita Hosali, CEO, The British Institute of Human Rights
  143. Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
  144. Clarissa Hanna, Chair, Faversham and Villages Refugee Solidarity Group
  145. Dr Judith Turbyne, Chief Executive, Children in Scotland
  146. Lucila Granada, CEO, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX)
  147. Marguerite Hunter Blair CEO Play Scotland
  148. Fizza Qureshi, CEO, Migrants’ Rights Network
  149. Robert Moore, Company Secretary, North Wales Regional Equality Network
  150. Mark Kieran, CEO, Open Britain
  151. Griff Ferris, Senior legal and policy officer, Fair Trials
  152. Kris Harris, Policy Coordinator, Project 17
  153. Debbie Ariyo OBE, CEO AFRUCA Safeguarding Children
  154. Debbie Ariyo OBE, Chair BASNET
  155. Pierre Makhlouf, Legal Director, Bail for Immigration Detainees
  156. Chris Minnoch, CEO, Legal Aid Practitioners Group
  157. Owen Temple, Chair, No To Hassockfield
  158. Sneh Aurora, Director, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  159. Jim McCormick, Chief Executive, The Robertson Trust
  160. John Good, Acting CEO, ActionAid UK
  161. Suzanne Swinton, Chief Executive, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
  162. Danny Sriskandarajah, CEO, Oxfam GB
  163. Hugh Knowles and Miriam Turner, Co-Executive Directors, Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  164. Donna-Louise Cobban, CEO, Beyond Detention
  165. James Pearson, Director of Policy & Practice, Alzheimer Scotland
  166. Yo Dunn, Director, National Autistic Taskforce
  167. Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council
  168. Rev Caz Hague, Methodist Minister, Birmingham Circuit
  169. Steve Cooke Chair Derbyshire Refugee Solidarity
  170. Katrina French, Founder and Managing Director, UNJUST
  171. Dr Shabna Begum, Director of Research, Runnymede Trust.
  172. Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director, Human Rights Watch
  173. Kamran Mallick, CEO, Disability Rights UK
  174. Rosalind Stevens, Project Manager, Civil Society Alliance


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