*Image via Wikipedia – Kevin Quinn, Ohio, US – Flickr*
Lord Lilley: Does my noble friend agree that it is time to renegotiate the original Geneva convention on refugees, which was passed when there was a finite problem of displaced persons in Europe and was subsequently extended worldwide before anyone realised that cheap mass transport and communications would make mass movement of economic refugees between continents possible? The scale of the mass movement is indicated by the US’s offer of 50,000 visas every year to a handful of countries on a lottery basis. It receives applications from 13% of the population of Albania, 9% of the population of Armenia, 8% of the population of Ghana and 15% of the population of Liberia. It is time to recognise that the scale of this problem exceeds anything the original treaty was designed to deal with.
Baroness Williams of Trafford: I certainly concur with my noble friend that not only are migration patterns changing because of the nature of access to travel but that the figures all over the world are massively increasing from what they were. Renegotiation of the 1951 convention is a bit above my pay grade, but I certainly say that this country has always tried to give refuge to those most in need. To that end, we have been extremely generous.