Archive for the ‘UK immigration’ Category
UK immigration rules tightened to keep out human rights abusers.
The government is to announce tough immigration requirements that would ban non-EU citizens who have been accused of serious human rights abuses, including torture or murder, from visiting the UK.
The measures in the government’s Human Rights Report, to be launched by the Foreign Office on Monday, will allow ministers to refuse entry where credible evidence exists of past or continuing human rights abuses.
The new rules, however, would not constitute a blanket ban on visas for human rights-abusing foreign officials, with ministers still able to rule that individuals – including human rights-abusing heads of state – can visit the UK if it is regarded as part of a policy of engagement on human rights.
The change has been driven by Foreign Office ministers and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.
At present, the UK does not have a list of those who are banned from visiting, as each case is considered on its merits. Officials admit that there have been times where they have wanted to deny entry to individuals but have struggled because they are not allowed to simply on the basis of their human rights record. Currently, the individuals targeted by the new rules could only have been excluded if they were viewed as a threat to national security.
The new rule will say: “Foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area may only come to the UK if they satisfy the requirements of the immigration rules. Where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK.”
The new rules have been in part drawn up following the controversy over the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who was working for Hermitage Capital, a British investment fund, and died in 2009 in a pre-trial detention centre after deliberate abuse by officials.
Although the doctor involved, Larisa Litvinova, was cleared of culpability in Russia, officials have suggested those involved – like Litvinova – could be excluded.
One official told the Observer: “What this will mean is that rich and powerful people around the world, including eastern Europe, parts of Asia and Africa, won’t have an open ticket to the UK if they are involved in torture, murder or illegal detention – no matter if it happens here in the UK or not.”