The safe third country agreement has been a topic of discussion for many years now, especially in countries like the UK. A safe third country agreement is an agreement between two or more countries in which a country can return asylum seekers to another country for them to seek refuge there, under certain conditions. In this article, we will discuss the safe third country agreement in the context of the UK.
What is a Safe Third Country Agreement?
A safe third country agreement is a bilateral agreement between two countries that allows one country to return asylum seekers to the other country, where it is deemed safe for them to seek refuge. This agreement is usually made when the asylum seekers have traveled through or transited in a third country before arriving in the country seeking asylum. The agreement is meant to discourage the practice of asylum shopping, where an asylum seeker tries to claim asylum in multiple countries.
Safe Third Country Agreement in the UK
The UK has been in talks with various countries about the safe third country agreement, with some agreements already in place. The UK has signed an agreement with France, which allows the UK to return asylum seekers who arrive in the UK via France, and France can return asylum seekers who arrive in France via the UK. The UK also has a similar agreement with Belgium and the Netherlands.
The UK is currently in talks with other countries, including Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The agreement with these countries would allow asylum seekers arriving in the UK to be returned to the country they first entered the EU, where they can seek refuge. This agreement would also apply to UK citizens who arrive in these countries seeking asylum. The UK government has stated that the safe third country agreement is essential to discourage asylum shopping and streamline the asylum process.
Controversy Surrounding the Safe Third Country Agreement
The safe third country agreement has been a topic of controversy, with critics arguing that it puts vulnerable asylum seekers at risk. The UNHCR has raised concerns about the agreement, stating that it could deny asylum seekers the opportunity to apply for protection in the country where they have the best chance of receiving it. Critics also argue that the agreement could burden developing countries with large numbers of asylum seekers.
The safe third country agreement is a topic of discussion in many countries, including the UK. The UK has signed agreements with France, Belgium, and the Netherlands and is in talks with other countries to sign similar agreements. While the agreement is intended to discourage asylum shopping and streamline the asylum process, there are concerns about the risks it poses to vulnerable asylum seekers. It is crucial for countries to balance the need to manage the asylum process with the rights of vulnerable asylum seekers.