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After An Outcry, Johnson Defends Britain's Plan to Electrically Monitor Refugees

Updated: Jun 26



By: Andy Xu


Following the constant backlash against the British government’s plan to electronically

monitor refugees, Boris Johnson responded last Sunday from a British air force base

defending the plan. The prime minister claimed that the digital tags would ensure that

“asylum seekers can’t just vanish into the rest of the country.”

However, refugee organizations and human rights lawyers have strongly condemned

Johnson’s plan, saying that this new policy is inhumane and that the surveillance may

have very damaging consequences on people that have already been abused in the

past.

Enver Soloman, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, said “It’s appalling that this

government is intent on treating men, women and children who have fled war,

bloodshed and persecution as criminals. This draconian and punitive approach not only

shows no compassion for very vulnerable people. It will also do nothing to deter those

who are desperately seeking safety in the U.K.”

The prospect of tagging and surveillance of refugees that have already been tortured

and abused in the past has also unsettled and angered many people.

Sue Willman, a human rights lawyer and the chairwoman of the Human Rights

Committee at The Law Society, said that “The amount of suffering that can be caused to

someone who is a torture survivor or who is mentally ill far outweighs the very minimal

benefits for the government.”

It should be noted that a recent government figure found that “only 1 percent of people

released on bail actually abscond,” which renders this policy ineffective, costly, and

harmful.


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