Government slammed for plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing

“What next? "Offshoring" the unemployed? The sick? the disabled? Protesters? Criminals?"

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is planning on sending asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing, it has been reported.

According to the Times, the prime minister is said to be in the final stages of plans to ‘outsource’ the processing of asylum seekers to Rwanda, in what is now the sixth time in less than two years where ministers are briefing that they plan to fly asylum seekers to a third country for processing and resettlement purposes.

Johnson is said to be close to striking a deal to pay the east African country millions of pounds, after being rejected by other countries.

Countries such as Albania and Ghana have rejected the UK’s request to receive asylum seekers for offshore processing. However, the UK government believes Rwanda is more likely to agree to a proposal, given that it has accepted refugees from other countries in the past.

Government sources have told the Times that the plans are ‘close’ but not yet ready, with a suggestion that the government is waiting for home secretary Priti Patel’s Nationality and Borders Bill to pass through the House of Lords.

The bill has been slammed as ‘inhumane’ and ‘barbaric’ by human rights groups and critics, and even been criticised by some Tories over plans for the offshore processing of asylum seekers. The bill has also been criticised for failing to create safe routes for refugees. The House of Lords previously rejected a clause which sought to limit the rights of refugees who  arrived by an ‘irregular route’ and who made their own way to the UK.

The government’s proposals meant that anyone arriving in the UK by an illegal route, such as by a small boat across the Channel, could have their claim ruled as inadmissible, receive a jail sentence of up to four years, have no recourse to public funds, and could have their family members barred from joining them.

Commenting on the latest proposal to ‘outsouce’ the processing of asylum seekers, Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy tweeted: “The Government is briefing an impending deal to detain asylum seekers offshore in Rwanda modelled on the Australian system, which cost £2m+ for every person detained last year.

“So there’s no money to help struggling households but billions to spend on torturing refugees.”

Another social media user wrote in response to the news: “What next? “Offshoring” the unemployed? The sick? the disabled? Protesters? Criminals?

“Is the Government going to send asylum seekers fleeing Ukraine to Rwanda?

“Britain has a shameles government of cruel, divisive, inhumane, sociopathic rule-breaking populist nationalist liars.”

The proposal has also been criticised by the refugees minister Richard Harrington who said that it would ‘fail’.

Commenting on the plans, he told LBC: “If it’s happening in the Home Office, on the same corridor that I’m in, they haven’t told me about it.

“I’m having difficulty enough getting them from Ukraine to our country, there’s no possibility of sending them to Rwanda.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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