Quakers outraged at “performatively cruel” Rwanda Act

23 April 2024

Quakers have joined 250 others in writing to the prime minister to express their outrage at the passage of the misleadingly named Safety of Rwanda Act.

After a prolonged battle of “ping pong” between the Commons and the Lords, the bill passed on Monday night when the Lords said they had to accept the primacy of the elected house.

The act is unprecedented in UK law, with the Government overriding the Supreme Court which ruled that Rwanda is not a safe country for refugees.

It also removes the UK’s obligation in domestic law to abide by treaties that the UK remains bound to internationally, including the European Convention on Human Rights.

Signatories of the letter, including Liberty and Refugee Action, said: “This is a shameful and performatively cruel law that will risk people’s lives and betray who we are as a society.”

The Safety of Rwanda Act is the central plank of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to reduce the number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats.

But the government accepts virtually no asylum routes as legal, so refugees fall back on the dangerous Channel crossings.

Five migrants, including a child, died in the Channel just hours after the bill was passed.

Nearly two years after the idea was introduced, the Home Office plans to send the first group of asylum seekers to Rwanda in July.

The RAF could be ordered to operate the migrant deportation flights as the Government struggles to find an airline willing to take on the work.

Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain, said: “Quakers have long advocated for new, peaceful, safer routes of migration including the introduction of humanitarian visas and improved rules for family reunion.

“It is heart-breaking that that future is more remote now than ever.

“All people are precious, unique, a child of God. How can we allow children to drown at sea rather than offering them refuge? How can we put survivors of modern slavery at grave risk of mental and physical harm?

“We are called to love our neighbour. This Act does not come from a place of love.”

Read full letter here

Post expires on June 30th, 2024

Verified by MonsterInsights