Will Tory rebels do something useful and stop the deportations to Rwanda?

Callous, immoral and possibly homicidal: Priti Patel announced the plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda in April.

There’s less than a week to go before Home Secretary Priti Patel sends the first flight of asylum seekers into exile in Rwanda.

Tory rebels who gave Boris Johnson a bloody nose with their strong response to a confidence vote in his leadership could stop it.

But will they?

There are plenty of reasons for them to do it.

The plan will break the 1951 Refugee Convention that has set the standard for the way that governments should deal with people fleeing persecution in other countries for more than 70 years.

Johnson and Patel have sidestepped the convention by ignoring the complex set of problems surrounding each asylum-seeker and refusing to accept that their arrival is to do with anything more than the criminal acts of people smugglers.

The roughly 100 men selected to be on the first flight have reacted in ways that are painful to learn: one group staged a five-day hunger strike; others have threatened suicide. At least two of those being sent out may not even be adults.

Charities including Freedom from Torture are taking legal action on grounds that the government is violating the refugee convention – and also acting irrationally in treating Rwanda as a “safe third country”.

The Home Office has acknowledged that there are grounds for concern about the way LGBTQ+ people are treated there.

And critics have correctly pointed out that Rwanda’s record on human rights is flawed.

Perhaps that is why Rwanda itself has created, and continues to create, countless refugees of its own, with at least 287,000 Rwandans – possibly as many as a million – having fled the regime of President Paul Kagame.

“Kagame is a stooge: he’s a conman of the West in dubious business including, now, human trafficking,” is how one such Rwandan exile [Etienne Mutabazi] describes the president and his £120m deal with the UK Government.

The Kagame regime is not content with creating exiles, though – and has been implicated in abducting and killing exiles across Africa for years.

Despite these facts, the UK and other Western governments are keen to send their asylum seekers into the care of the Kagame regime – from which many may become refugees for a second time, it seems.

“The West does not care because it’s not happening on its shores,” [Mutabazi] explained. “If you were caring, you wouldn’t negotiate [with Kagame]… [The deal] is immoral, unethical and illegal.”

And it isn’t even deterring refugees from coming to the UK, according to the latest figures.

About 9,000 people have arrived in the UK on small boats so far this year, almost half since the Rwanda policy was launched.

There are better ways of dealing with a refugee problem that, in the UK, is minute compared with that of other nations.

Tory backbench rebels would earn a huge amount of credibility by pushing Johnson into abandoning this lunatic cruelty and adopting sensible policies (some are suggested in the source article).

And they would be showing us that they do have the backbone to restrain the UK’s out-of-control prime ministerial maniac. But can they?

Source: The Guardian view on deportations to Rwanda: cut out the stunts

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