Freedom from Torture have quite rightly been asking parliamentary candidates for their views. In the extremely busy election not all candidates will have been sent this questionnaire, and not all of those will have had time to respond fully, so here are the Liberal Democrat policies and views on this crucial issue :
FREEDOM FROM TORTURE QUESTIONNAIRE
- Be proud to offer safety to people forced to flee their homes because of torture?
We are proud to accept safety to people who have to flee their homes for a range of reasons, including, of course, torture. When those seeking sanctuary with us arrive here, they should be treated humanely, with compassion and respect.
- Ensure a fair system that gets decisions on asylum claims right first time. The people making decisions about peoples’ lives must not reject them unfairly and send them back to torture.
We have robust plans for how we would reform decision making. Liberal Democrats will review and reform all aspects of current asylum rules and operations that offend basic measures of fairness and justice. In particular we would seek to change the culture of disbelief that affects all people applying for asylum. The Home Office is not fit for purpose and needs radical reform. The political influence must be taken out of decision making.
We would provide better training for staff who deal directly with more vulnerable groups such as victims of torture or trafficking, mentally ill people, pregnant women, children and LGBT+ people.
There is a lot more detail here http://libdemfocus.co.uk/ld4sos/archives/1667
- Give people who have been tortured the chance to rebuild their lives and become part of our society. To do this, it must help them access therapy, healthcare, education, legal support and a safe and secure home.
Those who have suffered from torture need to have the support needed to make a new life. The very first step needs to be to help them to learn to speak English by providing free basic English lessons to any seeker of sanctuary. We would start these lessons at the earliest opportunity, so that people would be able to integrate and work in the UK as soon as possible. Also they would then be able to engage, participate and contribute fully to the local community and British society, as so many express the strong desire to do;
We would also give them the right to work, after being here for 3 months, to give them a chance to use their skills and further become part of our society.
4. Not lock-up people who have already suffered terrible abuse. Survivors of torture should never be detained for immigration purposes.
As well as being committed to ending indefinite detention, we are calling for an end to the detention of all vulnerable people. This includes victims of torture, those with mental illness and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, victims of gender based violence, pregnant women, and people with learning difficulties.
5. Stand up to governments and our leaders when they commit or enable torture or turn a blind eye to it. Torture destroys peoples’ lives. We believe that trade agreements should never take priority over people’s rights. Nothing can ever justify torture.
Liberal Democrats would work to end the use of torture around the world and conduct a full inquiry into the UK Government’s involvement in torture and rendition.