Nicola Sturgeon names UK government plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda ‘despicable’ and ‘shameful’

Nicola Sturgeon also said the plans “highlight moral bankruptcy” as she said they are a means to “distract” the public during the Boris Johnson partygate scandal.

The deal would mean single men who arrive in Kent on small boats could be flown four thousand miles to central Africa on a one-way ticket to Rwanda while their case is considered.

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Home Secretary Priti Patel is in the African nation to sign a deal for a £120m trial as she said it was a “significant moment for the New Plan for Immigration”.

Yet, commenting on the plans on Thursday morning, Nicola Sturgeon said: “A despicable policy on its own terms. But add the fact that it’s being set out today to distract from partygate and you see the utter moral bankruptcy of this Tory government laid bare.

The Prime Minister is expected to set out the full details on the plan on Friday.

Exact details of the plan are yet to be confirmed, however it is understood it would be restricted to mostly single men the British authorities believe are “inadmissible”.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the UK government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda are ‘despicable’ and ‘shameful’ (Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images).

Under the proposal, Rwanda would take responsibility for them, put them through an asylum process, if they are successful at the end of the process, they will have long-term accommodation in Rwanda.

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The Rwandan government said migrants will be “entitled to full protection under Rwandan law, equal access to employment, and enrollment in healthcare and social care services”.

The UK Home Office believes existing asylum law will be sufficient to implement the plan, however, questions remain about the legality of the scheme.

The Scottish Refugee Council claims the policy is a “very clear breach of international law”.

A spokesperson from the Scottish Refugee Council said: “It is state sanctioned violence in practice.

“The timing of this announcement is shamefully political. As pressure mounts on those at the top of this government, they are using the rights and the lives of refugees to deflect from their own political woes. This is utterly reprehensible.

“Anyone could be forced to flee our homes at short notice. Any of us would want to be treated with dignity and respect at one of the most challenging times of our life. Yet this is increasingly very far from the reality of a person seeking protection in the UK.”

The council added that the UK cannot claim to stand with Ukraine at the same time it rolls out a regime of “punishment and violence under the guise of deterrence for people who are only looking to find safety and rebuild their lives”

The spokesperson added: “By bringing in poorly thought out and shoddily operated targeted schemes to bring a very small number of people to safety from specific conflicts, the UK Government is moving to a model of patchwork provision of supporting certain refugees.

“This cannot be a replacement for the universal right to asylum which is enshrined in international law or working in partnership with the UN refugee agency to play our part in resettling refugees from around the world.”

Last year, 28,526 people are known to have crossed in small boats, up from 8,404 in 2020 and around 600 people made the crossing on Wednesday.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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