Responding to proposals to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda for processing, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said:
“We are appalled by the Government’s cruel and nasty decision to send those seeking sanctuary in our country to Rwanda.
Every day we are hearing the stories of desperate Ukrainian families fleeing war. This is the brutal reality faced by refugees escaping conflicts all over the world, who this Government now wants to treat as no more than human cargo to be shipped elsewhere.
The Government’s own data shows that two thirds of men, women and children arriving in small boats across the Channel come from countries where war and persecution has forced them from their homes. No one risks their own, or their family’s life, unless they are running from dangers more acute than they face on these dangerous journeys.
Sending people seeking asylum to be processed abroad will do absolutely nothing to address the reasons why people take perilous journeys to find safety in the UK. It will do little to deter them from coming to this country, but only lead to more human suffering and chaos – at a huge expense of an estimated £1.4 billion a year.
Far from enabling people to rebuild their lives, we know from where this has been done by other countries, it only results in high levels of self-harm and mental health issues and can also lead to people ending up back in the hands of people smugglers.
We urge this Government to immediately rethink its plans, which are in such stark contrast to what every Conservative Prime Minister since Churchill has sought to do by providing a fair hearing on British soil for those who claim asylum. Instead, the Government should focus on operating an orderly, humane and fair asylum system, and developing safe routes such as humanitarian visas, rather than harming lives and destroying our reputation as a country which values human rights.”