Plans to turn back refugees and migrants at sea have been condemned by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
UK Border Force staff are being trained to send back small boats carrying refugees and migrants in the English Channel.
But according to JRS director, Sarah Teather, the proposal is “extraordinarily dangerous”.
“If it is enacted, people will drown,” she said. “And it contravenes the most basic principles of refugee protection, casting out people seeking asylum without even considering their claim.
“Rather than fixing the asylum system, the government appears to have decided we should not have one at all.”
Sarah said there was “ample evidence” that simply closing borders forces people to make even more dangerous journeys.
“This plan will make desperate people with few options more desperate still, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers,” she said. “The government must take a new approach grounded in humanity and responsive to evidence.”
The right to enter a country in order to seek asylum is protected by the 1951 Refugee Convention.
• A teenage refugee took his own life because he feared he could be deported back to Afghanistan, an inquest heard this week.
The 19-year-old, who has not been named as family members in Afghanistan fear it could put them at risk, took his own life in Birmingham where he arrived unaccompanied six years ago after fleeing the country, The Guardian reports.