Plans to deport the first batch of refugees to Rwanda may have been halted temporarily, but the Conservative government will pursue this barbaric scheme to the end.
The sight of a charter plane, costing half a million pounds to hire, sitting empty on an airport runway may well be an appropriate metaphor for Boris Johnston’s administration but it doesn’t tell the full story.
Britain has legal and moral obligations to ensure the safety, welfare and human rights of refugees and asylum seekers. Flying them to an east African country with a dubious human rights record and with which they will have no connection is not only immoral it verges on the criminal. Given the Conservative party’s policy of privatisation and outsourcing public responsibilities it should, however, come as no surprise.
Despite the excellent work of Amnesty International and other human rights organisations in preventing the deportations thus far, there may soon be no legal grounds left to argue against this measure for those concerned
As part of the Rwanda plan a Nationality and Borders Bill, currently before parliament, proposes to remove the right to remain in the UK while an asylum claim or appeal is being processed.
If passed, the bill will allow the removal of refugees and asylum seekers to a ‘safe country’ while their claim is pending.
The pressure to reverse the dumping of refugees and asylum seekers in other countries must be maintained and increased. There is a particular responsibility on The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) which has already publicly criticised the policy and also on the heads of Commonwealth countries who meet in Rwanda this week.
Refugees and asylum seekers are the casualties of imperialist wars, aggressions and rivalries. For that reason alone, they should be made welcome, protected and secure.