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European human right watchdog warns debate of migration taking a worrying turn in the UK

Date: (1 April 2013)    |    

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The Europe’s Human Rights watchdog has warned that the debate in Britain over UK immigration has taken a worrying turn and was fuelling stereotypes and hostility towards migrants.
Nils Muiznieks, commissioner for the Council of Europe’s human rights has said that it was simply unacceptable to treat Bulgarians and Romanian citizens like a scourge and says that it was time for blowing whistle against such shameful rhetoric.
He warned that the British government moves restricting the access of new European migrants to social security, housing and social security would only increase their social exclusion, fuel anti-immigration rhetoric and create even more social problems in the long run.
Speaking to Guardian he said that the UK immigration debate had taken a worrying turn as it depicted lower-skilled migrants as dangerous foreigners coming to steal jobs, lower salaries and spoil the health system.
The Bulgarians and the Romanians were being portrayed in bad light because or their origin which was unacceptable because they cannot be treated any different from other EU citizens and not be generalised on assumptions Muiznieks said.
He added that British political leaders had a crucial role to play to turn the heated political debates in Britain and Germany on the presumptive flooding of migrants from these countries from January.
His warning has followed David Cameron’s immigration speech on Monday which he said risked feeding stereotypes and hostility towards migrants.
Cameron laid out plans to restrict health and housing benefits to migrant groups. In a speech widely seen as a knee jerk reaction to a new resurgent Ukip, the prime minister said he wanted to stop migrants claiming NHS treatment for free, and also ensure that UK residents got preferential treatment in social housing.
Ministers have been drawing up other plans to keep overall immigration down. On Wednesday, the Guardian revealed that ministers are considering asking schools to check whether pupils are illegal migrants. According to a series of leaked emails, the inter-ministerial group on migrant access to benefits also contemplated banning an estimated 120,000 illegal migrant children from education.
Mr Muiznieks said that states had to take integration policy seriously for migration to contribute positively to society and migrants needed to be given access to quality education, housing, health care and social security from the start, otherwise they would be socially excluded. This in turn fuels anti-immigration rhetoric and xenophobia, and creates even more social problems in the long run. Immigrants should therefore enjoy the same social rights as other Europeans.