HC Deb 10 July 2002 vol 388 c1018W
Mr. Wiggin

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Government's obligations pertaining to refugees under the 1951 Geneva Convention. [67126]

Mr. MacShane

As a State party to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol relating to Refugees, the UK has an obligation under international law to protect people fleeing persecution.

This is enshrined in Article 33(1) of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees, which provides that No contracting state shall expel or return ("refouler") a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion".

Further rights include the right not to be expelled under certain, strictly defined conditions (Article 32); exemption from penalties for illegal entry into the territory of a contracting state (Article 31); the right to work (Article 17); the right to housing (Article 21); the right to education (Article 22); the right to public relief and assistance (Article 23); the right to freedom of religion and to free access to courts (Article 4 and 16); freedom of movement within the territory (Article 26); the right to be issued with travel documents (Articles 27 and 28).