Plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda
A UK Government plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing has been described as “utterly shameful”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled a £120m pilot scheme, which will focus on single men arriving on boats or lorries, and which Johnson has said will "save countless lives" from human trafficking.
Speaking in Kent, where the majority of refugees arrive in the UK, Johnson said: "Our compassion may be infinite but our capacity to help people is not.
"We can't ask the British taxpayer to write a blank cheque to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here."
Refugees arriving in Kent will be taken to detention centres, rather than "hotels at vast public expense", which Johnson said would "over time prove a very considerable deterrent".
Under the new proposals, Rwanda would take responsibility for refugees, put them through an asylum process, and if they were successful, provide them with long-term accommodation in Rwanda.
The SNP said the proposal was “toxic and inhumane,” while Amnesty International described the idea as “shockingly ill-conceived”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the launch of the plan was being done to “distract from partygate”.
Last year, nearly 30,000 people crossed the Channel in small boats – up from around 8,000 in 2020.
But the SNP’s home affairs spokesman Stuart McDonald MP said: “It is utterly shameful that Boris Johnson is putting forward these toxic and inhumane policies in a desperate attempt to distract from his law-breaking and to appease Tory backbench MPs.
“These plans mark a depressing new low for this broken Tory government.”
Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said: “Sending people to another country - let alone one with such a dismal human rights record - for asylum ‘processing’ is the very height of irresponsibility and shows how far removed from humanity and reality the Government now is on asylum issues.
“The government is already wrecking our asylum system at huge cost to the taxpayer while causing terrible anxiety to the people stuck in the backlogs it has created.
“But this shockingly ill-conceived idea will go far further in inflicting suffering while wasting huge amounts of public money.”