There are numerous laws that guarantee equality for everyone. Numerous modifications have taken place over the years to adhere to the principles of inclusion. Yet there have been pieces of evidence where the asylum seekers and refugees have faced discrimination from the authorities and often failed to enjoy their guaranteed rights. The present report tries to reflect upon the same with enough evidence.
The aim of this report is to highlight the discrimination problem which is faced by asylum seekers and refugees despite many changes in the law. This report will explain who they are and what issues they are facing over the years. It will cover the discrimination that is in practice and will show a background history about the same. Also, it will point out all the relevant laws which are made for the protection of the asylum seekers and refugees, explaining the same as what should happen and how the laws have changed over time in order to keep up to date with the issue of discrimination prevailing in the society. The main focus of this report is to find whether the laws in practice are useful or not when it is tested in court, whether it is compounding the situation and making the situation more worst or whether there are any other factors involved in this case. As a whole, this report is focused on the problem of discrimination faced by the asylum seekers and refugees all the relevant laws which are made to protect them, and how the laws are tested and enforced in real life.
An asylum seeker is someone who seeks to claim as a refugee for international protection. They are someone whose refugee status claim has not been decided yet. Whereas, refugees have a claim for international protection. They flee their country for protecting themselves from violation of their human rights and prosecution. A refugee is someone who is recognized as a refugee under the status of refugees in the 1951 Geneva Convention (Turriniet at., 2017).
People come to the UK seeking safety and become asylum seekers and refugees. However, these people who came in search of peace and safety face various issues which can threaten their safety; their dignity sometimes even threatens their lives. Due to their immigration status, asylum seekers and refugees face problems of inequalities on various grounds. Many asylum seekers’ and refugees’ families live in poverty in very poor health as they are not even capable of paying for their basic needs. Asylum seekers are not even allowed to work and are therefore focused to live on state support which is very low as £5 per day (RC, 2020). They are very likely to be exploited in workplaces as people from asylum seekers and refugees are given low-skilled work at very low-wages.
They are exposed to exploitation such as slavery, forced labour, domestic servitude; etc as they are not aware of their rights and thus they are unable to use the economic rights the same as compared to the non-migrants. It has been seen at special women from these groups face discrimination and violence. Women tend to get low-wage as compared to men despite being in the same job and position. In UK indigent women from asylum seekers and refugees are at risk of sexual violence. The structural inequalities which were brought by the recent immigration system made many women indigent and left them in a degraded situation with the exposure to different types of abuse (EIN, 2019). Thus the immigration status and nationality substituted women’s rights. For a very long time, the young black men are treated very poorly and are often subject to stop and search. These stops and searches are very excessively practised by the police as it is seen that an individual black man is to stop and search many times in his life. These stop and search are done despite any criminal intent and is very common. In London, black people are 4 times more likely to stop and search as compared to white people (BBC, 2018). In 2017 according to the Metropolitan Police Stop and Search Dashboard 35% of young black men mainly between 15-18 age groups were stopped and searched than with 10% of young white men. Especially black people think that they are targeted unfairly by stop and search.
The Equal Pay Act 1970 was formulated in order to prevent any discrimination between men and women in regards to the terms and conditions of employment. This Act is of UK parliament that strictly prohibited any less beneficial treatment and contractual pay between women and men. The main aim of this act was to remove the culture of lower pay rates to women mainly in private sectors. The Equal Pay Act 1970 became a part of the Equality Act 2010. This act tried to improve the situation of asylum-seeking and refugee women in their workplace by giving them the right to equal pay (Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, 2019).
The Equality Act 2010 came into force to protect people legally from any kind of discrimination in society or in the workplace. It replaced various precious laws of anti-discrimination with a single act (Gardner,2018). It made the law much easier for understanding the technicalities of it and in a few situations, it also helped to strengthen the protection of people. This act was helpful for refugees and asylum seekers to provide them ongoing and effective support for fighting against discrimination, marginalisation, abuse and harassment. They are protected from direct and indirect discrimination and victimisation.
The act was incorporated into the United Kingdom in 2000. It consisted of all the notions of the European Convention on Human Rights (Legislation, 2020).
The law states that according to this act everyone has the right to protect their privacy regarding their personal choices, family life and correspondences. It also mentions that everyone has the option to enjoy their rights and there cannot be discrimination regarding the same. It also states that there can be no interference by the public authorities regarding this act as long as they do not disturb the public safety, economy and other security concerns (Lloyd, 2017).
This act came into existence in the House of Commons in 2004 and was given royal assent in 2005 (Legislation, 2020).
The act provides the constables with the powers of arrest based on certain prerogatives. The arrest may be based on evidence of causing injuries to others, causing damages to public property, on cases of unethical hiding of identity by any person or to protect a child from a person who has been found to be suffering under the said person (Martin, 2018).
In the case of ‘R(on the application of H) v. Mental Health Tribunal,’ it was found that a mentally challenged child was denied to be transferred to a hospital which was near his mother’s house. Although it might seem from the outside that this meant a serious violation of the proposed act, it was later judged by the supreme court that the case did not hold much water as there was no other place available to transfer the child and the case solely rested upon clinical judgment (Swarb, 2019).
In the case of ‘R. (on the application of ZO (Somalia)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 36 Supreme Court 28 July 2010’, the supreme court ruled that an asylum seeker must be given the equal opportunity to work when he is awaiting a decision in the asylum. But there have been pieces of evidence that this is not followed uniformly and the asylum seekers face discrimination based on the same grounds. An example could be ‘(R. (on the application of Lutalo) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 2042 (Admin) 26 July 2011)’ (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2016).
In the case of ‘Haq v Audit Commission (2012),’ it was found out that the women inspection and information officers were paid less compared to the male senior inspection and information officers. While it was argued that the pay gap was in relation to the designations, the supreme court ruled that there was evidence of indirect sexual discrimination in the workplace. This might ring true for the refugees too as it has been found that the women from this group sometimes face the same situations (Hartley, 2013).
In the case of ‘Smith v Police Service for Northern Ireland ,’ it was found that the police had arrested a person upon suspicion that he had murdered a woman. It was later found out through the proceedings that the woman had committed suicide. The supreme court ruled that the police might have been careless and had misused their power to some extent causing harassment to the said person. This could be evidently true in the case of refugees as well as it has been already mentioned that they too sometimes become subject to forced stop and search as well as detentions.
The report has successfully brought home the points to show how asylum seekers and refugees still face discrimination in certain scenarios. Some of the laws have been explained in detail and they have been correlated with case laws to make the points clearer. The case laws have been referenced from authentic sources to make the report more relevant.
Casement. 2019. POLICE SERVICE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND V SMITH.
Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, C., 2019. Is Equal Pay Worth It?.
Equality and Human Rights Commission. 2016. England’s most disadvantaged groups: Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Hartley, A. 2013. Case of the week: Haq v Audit Commission.
Legislation. 2020. Human Rights Act 1998.
Legislation. 2020. Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.
Lloyd, S., 2017. Deportation and the Human Rights Act 1998: Debunking the myths. In Critically Examining the Case Against the 1998 Human Rights Act (pp. 136-150). Routledge.
Martin, R., 2018. Prosecutorial discretion, assisting offenders and the decision to refer under the Serious and Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Law Quarterly Review, 134(Oct), pp.542-548.
RC, 2020. The Truth About Asylum – Refugee Council.
Turrini, G., Purgato, M., Ballette, F., Nosè, M., Ostuzzi, G. and Barbui, C., 2017. Common mental disorders in asylum seekers and refugees: umbrella review of prevalence and intervention studies. International journal of mental health systems, 11(1), p.51.Order Now