Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill
Lord Avebury (Liberal Democrat)
My Lords, I am sorry that we were not able at an earlier stage to explain more clearly to the Minister the reasons for our anxieties about this clause. I had imagined, however, that he had taken on board the concerns expressed by the UNHCR, which he himself acknowledged in Committee, when he said:
"The UNHCR has expressed some concern that authority to carry schemes could impede the right to asylum and has amplified that by saying that it might obstruct admission to the asylum determination system".—[Official Report, 17/07/02; col. 1353.]
That is the reason why we sought to insert, rather than the general term "passenger", classes of person to whom the Minister himself referred when he explained how the clause would operate. What we need is an assurance that the provision will be applied to individuals within the categories concerned—that is to say, persons who are known immigration offenders, individuals named in travel bans, and persons whose passports have been listed as stolen or lost.
If we are confining the authority-to-carry scheme to those particular groups and are not going to extend it as the power would allow to general classes—and thereby obstruct admission to the asylum system as the UNHCR fears might be the case—we would be given some reassurance. However, nothing that the Minister has said today has given us that comfort.