We are horrified by the Government’s announcement today (14.4.22) to send single men seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda. The timing of this announcement is a blatant attempt to distract from the political crisis this Government finds itself in and, once again, uses the lives of people seeking sanctuary as scapegoats, somehow deemed less worthy of the dignity and compassion afforded to others.
Not only do these proposals show a complete disregard for the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, they are also completely unworkable and would be at huge cost to the UK taxpayer. The failed use of offshoring by the Australian government has shown itself to be a morally bankrupt concept, contravening detainees’ human rights, and removing any proper accountability or scrutiny.
It is sadly unsurprising, yet still appalling, to learn of yet another attempt by this Government to shirk the responsibility it has to ensure every asylum claim is heard fairly once a person reaches the UK. Rather than address the woeful and incompetent state of the Home Office and its asylum system, and commit to ensuring safe and legal routes that would enable people to seek sanctuary without having to risk their lives in dinghies, the Home Office has such a disregard for people’s suffering that it would prefer to wholesale remove male sanctuary seekers, contravening their human rights.
We have witnessed for far too long a rhetoric that demonises people seeking sanctuary for the problems that this country faces. There are constant attempts by this Government, and previous ones alike, to pit one marginalised group of people against another in an attempt to distract from the Government’s failure to address societal issues such as wage stagnation, the cost of living crisis and poverty.
We have said this before, but showboating proposals that are designed to create human suffering, rather than working towards a fair and compassionate asylum system, or addressing the reasons why people are forced to make such horrendous journeys in search of safety, do nothing but expose this Government as having a blatant disregard for human life and flourishing.
Long after the Nationality and Borders Bill is inevitably legislated, we will still be campaigning for a just and compassionate asylum system that recognises the dignity and inherent worth of every individual.
The Bill returns to Parliament on the 20th April. It’s still not too late to write to your MP and ask that they reject the Bill. It remains as important as ever that MPs hear from their constituents and understand the strength of feeling on the issue. Together With Refugees has produced this template that you can use.