Suella Braverman's Controversial Remarks: Threatening Refugees' Right to Asylum

Suella Braverman's Controversial Remarks: Threatening Refugees' Right to Asylum
Source: ©Tim Bieler /Unsplash


Emily Wolfe 

Europe and Human Rights Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defence

UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman's recent comments at a US think tank have sent shockwaves through the international community. In questioning the suitability of the UN's 1951 Refugee Convention for the modern age, Braverman has not only sparked outrage but also raised concerns that her stance threatens refugees' fundamental right to seek asylum, as protected by this vital international treaty.

At the heart of Braverman's argument is the assertion that fearing discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation should not be sufficient grounds for asylum. By making this assertion, she effectively undermines the essence of the Refugee Convention, which was drafted to ensure that individuals facing threats to their life or freedom would not be returned to perilous situations.

Braverman's comments imply a dangerous shift in focus from protecting those genuinely fleeing persecution to a more restrictive definition of who can qualify for asylum. This shift essentially raises the bar for refugees seeking safety and contradicts the very spirit of the Convention. By narrowing the eligibility criteria, Braverman's remarks could potentially lead to a chilling effect, discouraging genuine refugees from seeking asylum for fear of being denied protection.

Moreover, her criticism of multiculturalism and her assertion that it allows parallel lives within society further complicates matters. It diverts attention from the core issue of protecting refugees and places the blame on broader societal factors, a tactic that detracts from addressing the real concerns at hand.

The UN's Refugee Convention, which has been signed by nearly 150 countries, is a cornerstone of international human rights law. It has been instrumental in saving countless lives and providing refuge to those in dire need. Braverman's attempt to call into question the Convention's relevance risks undermining the global commitment to protect refugees.

Critics argue that Braverman's stance is not only misguided but also potentially dangerous. By seeking to redefine the criteria for asylum eligibility, she threatens to erode the very principles upon which refugee protection is built. The Convention's enduring importance lies in its commitment to safeguarding individuals from harm, irrespective of their gender, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.

Sources and Further Reading:

Zeffman, H., & Francis, S. (2023, September 26). Anti-gay discrimination not qualification for asylum, says Suella Braverman. BBC. Retrieved on October 16, 2023 from