Home Secretary Suella Braverman is facing criticism for only taking media outlets supportive of the government's asylum policy on a trip to Rwanda
Stella Braverman addressed the migration crisis in the UK. AFP News

Home Secretary Suella Braverman has addressed the relevance of modern asylum law in Washington DC in a speech to the right-wing American Enterprise Institute in her government's efforts to "stop the boat" migrant crisis.

However, prior to her speech, the home secretary sparked fury after questioning if the United Nations Refugee Convention 1951 is still relevant today as "we now live in a completely different time" and anti-gay discrimination is not enough to claim asylum protection under international refugee laws.

She is seeking reform of the 1951 Convention by arguing the difference between persons fleeing from persecution rather than just simply escaping bias.

Braverman began her speech wanting to discuss "uncontrolled and illegal migration". Discussing the failure of multiculturalism, she says we "can see it play out on the streets of cities all over Europe. From Malmo to Paris, [and] Brussels to Leicester", and as the "child of immigrants", to say so it is not anti-immigrant.

Article 1 of the 1951 Convention definition of a refugee is that of someone who is undoubtedly in fear of "being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion", and is "unable or owing to such fear" is not willing to return to their "former habitual residence". The core principle of the Convention is that a refugee ought not to be sent back to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.

She stated how migration is an "existential challenge" for institutions in the Western world and political systems will lose the support of their people if border control is not maintained.

Meloni's post-fascist Brothers of Italy party was elected largely on a promise to reduce mass migration
The UK received 415 asylum applications on the basis of sexual orientation. AFP News

Despite being unable to give exact figures, the home secretary stated: "Nobody knows the true number of illegal arrivals, and estimates in this area very rarely turn out to be lower."

Nonetheless, Braverman spoke about the "threat to public safety and national security" that "uncontrolled and illegal migration" poses. She also claimed warnings from the UK police chiefs, linked higher levels of criminality to the arrival of small boats specifically related to "drug crime, exploitation and prostitution".

Braverman went on to speak about how it has become easier to obtain refugee status based on the case law surrounding the UN's Refugee Convention. There has been an "interpretive shift" from "persecution" to "discrimination" to qualify for refugee status.

She added that although it is "right that we offer sanctuary" to people being "persecuted", it is not sustainable to have an asylum system where "simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin, is sufficient to qualify for protection".

However, according to GOV.UK, in 2021, there were 415 asylum applications made on the basis of sexual orientation in the UK. This represents one per cent of all asylum applications and is 77 per cent less than in 2019.

Furthermore, in response to Braverman's speech shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said that she was "choosing to target and lash out at LGBT+ people to distract from her failures instead". Cooper also added how the home secretary has "totally failed to tackle the Tory asylum chaos" and instead is "ramping up the rhetoric and looking for someone else to blame".

Additionally, Cooper also commented on the government's failure to pursue criminal gangs and "to stop small boat crossings, and to end hotel use and clear the asylum backlog".

"There were no practical solutions or proposals set out today, and instead she's just failing," she added.

Finally, Amnesty International's response to Stella Braverman's speech also sparked fury as the worldwide charity's UK chief executive, Sacha Deshmukh, expressed in a statement that the UN Refugee Convention is a "cornerstone of the international legal system" and that "we need to call out this assault on the convention for what it is a display of cynicism and xenophobia".

He concluded by saying that "instead of making inflammatory speeches decrying the rights of people fleeing persecution and tyranny", Braverman should focus on "creating a functioning UK asylum system" that deals with the "massive backlog her policies have created".