§ Lord Hylton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will review the justification for and use of powers to detain indefinitely (under the Immigration Act 1971) asylum seekers arriving in the United Kingdom; and whether they will seek evidence and recommendations from the UNHCR and all relevant NGOs.
§ Baroness Blatch
Powers of detention under the Immigration Act 1971 are used only where there is no alternative and where there are good grounds for believing that a person will not comply with the conditions of temporary admission. Once exercised, powers of detention are reviewed regularly at increasingly senior levels in the Immigration Service.
Anyone refused asylum may appeal under the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 and may apply for bail to the independent appellate authorities at any time while an appeal is pending. Bail may also be sought from the appellate authorities by any passenger who has been detained longer than 7 days pending further examination. These statutory provisions are supplemented by the general power of the courts to grant writ of habeas corpus and to grant bail in any case before them. The Government are satisfied that their detention policy does not represent a breach of the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees or any other international obligations.