The Daily Express has been forced to issue a correction after referring to refugees as "illegal" in an article it published last month.

The paper explained on its website that an article under the headline "Why we need to get out of EU: More than 1million illegal migrants flood EU this year alone" had been updated last Thursday.

On 03 December 2015 this article was amended. It originally referred to a 'refugee crisis'. Refugees have been granted asylum and cannot be 'illegal'.

A small correction has been added to the end of the article on Express.co.uk and the lede, or sub-heading, has been updated to remove a reference to a "refugee crisis" - replaced instead with "migrant crisis".

The original sub-heading had said:

THE [their emphasis] true scale of Europe’s refugee crisis has been laid bare by figures showing that migrants have made more than a million illegal entries into the EU so far this year.

The article also ran in print on November 11 but did not explicitly refer to a "refugee crisis":

A complaint was first made about the article by human rights lawyer Shoaib Khan on the day it was published in print - he has now escalated the complaint to press standards body Ipso.

He told i100.co.uk that the flaw in the article was clear and that it was a "classic case of media scaremongering":

Refugees or asylum-seekers cannot be illegal. UK law, EU law and international law provides for people to leave their own countries when their life is at risk and seek refuge elsewhere.

There is nothing illegal about this. To suggest that Syrians escaping the horrors of what is happening there are doing something illegal by coming to the EU is to equate them with criminals and those who break the law.

Mr Khan added that it was "depressing" how many politicians, journalists and others mislead the public on issues around migration:

It is obvious that those who oppose human rights and refugees coming to the UK do not have a particularly strong case legally or morally, if they have to rely on lies and half-truths in order to garner public support.

However, if these lies are not challenged, then they remain in the public domain and are cited and re-cited again and again. While public lack of awareness about human rights is disappointing, the attitude of certain politicians and sections of the media is unacceptable and deplorable.

While pleased that a small correction has been made, Mr Khan is concerned that it's probably a case of too little, too late:

Whether anyone would read these three lines added onto the article three weeks after publication is another matter. No-one who read the original misleading article is going to return to the page a month later to see if any changes have been made. The damage has therefore already been done, regardless of any correction or apology now.

A spokesperson for Ipso told i100.co.uk: "I can confirm that we have received a complaint about the article and while the investigation is ongoing, will make no further comment on it."

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