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Policy on Tortured Asylum Seekers Declared Unlawful

The High Court has officially declared that the Government’s policy on torture victims is unlawful, after being told asylum seekers that were fleeing persecution were also being wrongly detained.

The case was bought by seven survivors of torture who had been detained in the UK, this includes sexual abuse, physical abuse, and more.


Judge Ouseley said that their new policy was “unlawful and their actions upon it too were unlawful”, saying the new policy had “no rational or evidence base”.

“There is no evidence that such a distinction relates to the relevant vulnerability. The evidence rather is that it does not.”

One of the claimants who suffered while in detention said:

“I welcome the decision and I am happy that the Judge accepted that the Home Office’s policy to narrow the definition of torture was unlawful.

“The Home Office said that detention will not affect me because I am not a victim of torture. It is difficult to believe that the Home Office could happily detain me knowing that I was tortured. It affected me greatly to be subjected to this unlawful policy. It has left a scar in my life that will never be healed.”

“Although I welcome the decision, it is still upsetting that the Home Office, who should protect people like me, rejected me and put me in detention which reminded me of the ordeal I suffered in my country of origin.

“I hope that the decision will benefit other survivors of torture held in immigration detention and it will prevent the Home Office from implementing a policy that will hurt vulnerable individuals in the future.”

Steve Valdez-Symonds  the Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights programme director, said:

“The Home Office’s treatment of torture survivors, a group especially vulnerable to harm by being detained, was scandalous.

“If this ruling means fewer people in the UK will now spend time behind bars, then this is a very welcome decision. In general, the Home Office has a shocking record of routinely detaining people, sometimes for years on end.

“We now need to see the Government act on recent independent reports that have recommended radical change to dramatically reduce the use of detention.”

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