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Political Refugees

Volume 164: debated on Monday 8 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will specify the criteria under which political refugees are now admitted to the United Kingdom.

Applications for asylum on arrival at United Kingdom ports are considered under the criteria of the 1951 United Nations convention and 1967 protocol relating to the status of refugees. Article 1 of the convention defines a refugee as inter alia someone who

"owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country".
If the person has arrived from a safe third country he or she may be returned to that country to pursue an application there. A refugee who has already found protection in another country may be admitted to the United Kingdom if this is a more appropriate country of refuge.