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Committee examines if new powers to repel migrant boats break human rights law

19 October 2021

The Joint Committee on Human Rights takes evidence from human rights lawyers on Wednesday 20 October when it examines the human rights implication of the Nationalities and Borders Bill. 


The Nationalities and Borders Bill contains a number of provisions intended to combat illegal immigration into the United Kingdom. This includes new powers to enable Border Force to stop, board, divert and turn back migrant ships attempting to enter UK waters and harsher sentences for immigration offences. It establishes a new criminal offence for asylum seekers entering the UK by illegal means and those that help them to do so. Refugees who entered the UK illegally would also be subject to a lesser immigration status. 

Purpose of the session

The session will examine the human rights implications of the Bill under the European Convention on Human Rights and other international treaties including the Refugee Conventions and the International Convention for the Safety of Lives at Sea (SOLAS). It will also examine how far the Bill’s provisions will achieve the Government’s stated aim of reducing illegal immigration and supporting formalised refugee routes. 


Wednesday 20 October

At 3pm

Panel One 

  • Daniel Ghezelbash, Associate Professor at Macquarie University
  • Sonali Naik QC, Barrister, Garden Court Chambers
  • Aurélie Ponthieu, Coordinator of the Forced Migration Team, Médecins sans Frontières 

Panel Two 

  • Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, Representative to the UK, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Elizabeth Ruddick, Senior Legal Associate, UNHCR UK 

Further information

Image: Parliamentary copyright