Shelter via Equal Laser Liverpool Aslum support service | 04.08.2003 09:51 | Liverpool
Human Rights Convention
Section 55: Justice Maurice Kay, ruled yesterday
Thursday 31st July 2003 that the "degrading treatment" threshold had
been reached in the cases of three men who had been refused benefits under Section 55 had fallen into circumstances where their Human Rights had been infringed.
"for a protracted but indefinite period of time for the determination of his asylum application it will often happen that, denied access to employment and other benefits, he will soon be
reduced to a state of destitution.
"Without accommodation, food or the means to obtain them, he will
have little alternative but to beg or resort to crime. Many, like the
claimants in this case, will have little choice but to beg and sleep
"In those circumstances and with uncertainty as to the duration of
their predicament, the humiliation and diminution of their human
dignity . . . will often follow within a short period of time."
"the applicants had been forced into "a life so destitute that
no civilised nation could tolerate it" Justice Maurice Kay
Shelter, the charity for the homeless, who brought the action on
behalf of the three men said: "The Government has taken an inhumane
stance on this issue for long enough. It is time for them to repeal
this shocking and unworkable piece of legislation that leaves vulnerable people desperate, degraded and damaged."
"All three people were malnourished and forced to beg for food
and to sleep rough; and one man was left no option but to defecate in
a park. These cases highlight the horrific impact on those left
penniless with no other access to help as a result of the Act -
particularly vulnerable people with illness and other problems. It
is unacceptable that any human being is both prevented from working
and denied any statutory support, leaving them genuinely destitute
with nowhere to turn.
"Evidence given by Shelter illustrates that there is virtually no
charitable provision available to people denied support as a result
of Section 55; most hostel beds are paid for by housing benefit,
which is not available to asylum seekers. We hope that this
judgement will convince the Government that it is unacceptable for
vulnerable people to have to sink to desperate levels of destitution
before they can have their human rights upheld."
Ben Overlander,Media Officer, Shelter, 020 7505 2051
Shelter via Equal Laser Liverpool Aslum support service