Rwanda scheme illegal and immoral

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.

Treatment of migrants is ‘cynical, callous and cruel’

The UK government’s proposal to send migrants, who arrive in Britain without a permit, to Rwanda has been condemned as “cynical, callous and cruel”, by Workers Party candidate in East Belfast Eoin MacNeill.

£50 million in new funding has also been announced to pay for boats, aerial surveillance and military personnel to prevent those seeking asylum from attempting to cross the Channel in small boats.

“These proposals have been condemned by the United Nations refugee agency and refugee action groups”, Eoin said

“People who are the victims of war, interventions, oppression and exploitation by reactionary regimes have the right to seek a safer life in other countries. The UK government proposal deliberately ignores the causes of mass migration. It is importnag to expose the exploitative system which gives rise to mass migration and work unceasingly to end it”, he said.

“The UK and the European Union, together with their allies in the US and NATO, have created the conditions where people are forced to flee their own countries. War, poverty, exploitation and oppression have forced people to risk their lives and safety to seek a better life which they cannot achieve at home”, said Eoin. 

“Fortress Europe”, with its closed borders, fences, quotas and prison camps is no solution. Refugees must be treated with dignity and compassion and with full respect for the Geneva Convention and international law”, Eoin argued.

“Those rights arising from refugee status and those seeking asylum must be recognised and respected for all nationalities and repressive measures against refugees must immediately cease”.

“Governments must provide decent and suitable facilities to ensure appropriate accommodation, medical care and documentation. These duties cannot be outsourced to third countries where refugees and asylum seekers will be faced with social, economic and language problems and exposed to the risk of exploitation and abuse”, Eoin warned.