We are appalled by today’s announcement that the UK Government will seek to offshore the UK’s asylum system to Rwanda.

This policy is a very clear breach of international law. 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.

That this government is choosing to model its asylum policy on Australia’s, a failed system mired by well documented serious human rights abuses, is shocking.

Once again, the government is stepping back from its legal and moral obligations and shunting responsibilities onto other bodies, in this case, a country which has only a fraction of the wealth and resources.  A truly global Britain would play a leading role in international protection, and create a fair and efficient asylum system of which we can all be proud and which would cost far less than throwing money at this doomed venture.

The truth is, 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 a person seeking protection in the UK.

The UK cannot claim to stand with Ukraine at the same time as 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.

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.

Today’s announcement is a difficult and upsetting one for us and for our friends, colleagues and neighbours. We will continue to stand together with them, and with people fleeing war, terror and persecution from around the world, and fight this cruel legislation.

If you are worried about your asylum application or how these proposals might affect you or your family, please call our free helpline: 0808 196 7274
Claire Thomson
Author: Claire Thomson