Statement in Response to Suella Braverman’s Xenophobic Speech at American Enterprise Institute

Statement from Refugees International President Jeremy Konyndyk and Director for the Americas and Europe Yael Schacher in response to United Kingdom Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s speech at the American Enterprise Institute on September 26, 2023:

“U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s speech today is bad-faith political theater. She seeks to manufacture panic rather than propose serious solutions – doubling down on the U.K.’s failing policy of fully blocking access to asylum. Instead of strengthening the toolkit to better manage forced displacement, Braverman is continuing to drum up xenophobia and trash the treaty that resolved the biggest refugee crisis of the last century.

The Refugee Convention was written to avoid repeating the moral catastrophes of the Second World War – when people fleeing genocide were denied refuge and were returned to prison and death. Genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other forms of persecution remain sadly widespread today – look no further than Darfur, Afghanistan, or Myanmar. In addition, targeted persecution of LGBTQ+ people is rising in numerous countries.

The protections of the Refugee Convention remain relevant and vital – but the U.K. and other countries have failed to evolve their own national policies to manage asylum effectively alongside frontline countries that host the vast majority of global refugees. Instead, they have simply sought to block safe mobility. Migration control efforts by Europe and its proxies alone have led to the deaths of tens of thousands of migrants just in the Mediterranean and the Channel. These policies are not just a moral catastrophe, but they are also failing on their own terms.

Countries like the U.K., European Union members, and the United States should focus on bolstering refugee resettlement, developing additional migration pathways, and scaling up their capacity to assess claims for protection.”

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Refugees International Media and Communications Manager Etant Dupain