The Rwanda refugees plan flies in the face of Christian teachings

The government’s plan is troubling because we are discharging our responsibility to welcoming the stranger, writes Paul Butler

Monday 25 April 2022 17:54
Comments
<p>Deterrents without safe routes do not reduce irregular arrivals of asylum seekers</p>

Deterrents without safe routes do not reduce irregular arrivals of asylum seekers

In the House of Lords over the past few months, I have been contributing to debates on the Nationality and Borders Bill – engaging with the government’s desire to reform the asylum system. My starting point is the Christian commitment to welcoming the stranger, treating them as we would each other. How we treat people who arrive on our shores seeking protection is therefore deeply important to me, and I believe this reflects the heart of our nation.

The government’s plan to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda is troubling to me because we are discharging our responsibility to welcoming the stranger. I agree, we need to stop the tragic loss of life on our borders as desperate asylum seekers make dangerous Channel crossings in small boats. But I fear the Rwanda deal will not stop this. It will instead cause huge suffering and distress to vulnerable people while severely damaging the UK’s reputation worldwide.

Under the government’s plan, asylum seekers will be sent to Rwanda where they can claim asylum within the Rwandan system if they choose. They would remain in Rwanda if they are found to be refugees – some may be returned if the UK is found to be legally obliged to facilitate that.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in