Tag Archives: Rwanda

Patel insists Rwanda is safe for asylum-seekers – despite expert advice on torture

Priti Patel: she’s not one to listen to advice she doesn’t like.

The Home Secretary has confirmed that she is ignoring the advice of an adviser who said the Rwandan government tortures political opponents, in pushing her policy of deporting asylum-seekers there.

Priti Patel insisted that Rwanda was a “safe country”.

She said the comments had been made by “officials in a different government department”.

She added: “But of course it is the Home Office who has led the economic development migration partnership which is our resettlement partnership to Rwanda. Rwanda is a safe country and all our work with the government of Rwanda shows that.”

She was responding to a High Court judgment that seven statements by an adviser should be made public in advance of a Supreme Court ruling on whether the Rwanda deportation policy is legal.

A judge ruled that a further four statements should not be published as they could potentially harm international relations.

It is not unreasonable – on the face of it – for the government to seek advice and then ignore what it is told.

Governments may take opinions from multiple sources before forming their own opinions and policy.

But this has the potential to blow up in the Tory government’s collective face, if the decision to ignore warnings about this foreign government leads to asylum-seekers being harmed.

Court ruling on Rwanda comments that should be published forces questions on those that won’t

Illegal policy? Priti Patel announced the plan to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK to Rwanda back in April. But a first flight there was aborted at the last minute as the legality of the scheme was challenged.

The High Court has ruled that a government adviser’s comment that Rwanda’s government tortures and kills political opponents – and six others – should be published ahead of a legal battle to decide whether deportations to that country are legal.

But four further comments by the same person were judged necessary to keep entirely secret because of the damage they would do to international relations between the UK and that country.

This leads to an obvious question:

Given the incendiary nature of the “torture” comment, how damning were the four that are being kept secret? And how can the UK’s Tory government justify sending asylum seekers to Rwanda after being provided with such information?

In his ruling, Lord Justice Lewis said:

“I recognise that there is a strong public interest in not undermining international relations with a friendly state. Nonetheless, that consideration is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring access to relevant information in this litigation and by the extent to which the information is already in the public domain.”

Migrants identified for the first aborted flight, and three media organisations – BBC News, including BBC Two’s Newsnight, The Times and The Guardian newspapers – sought the disclosure of the material.

The judge said given September’s major legal action had to decide whether sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was lawful, the claimants and the court needed to consider as much evidence as possible.

He said some of the official’s comments would have “evidential significance” – and the public interest in disclosing them outweighed the government’s case for keeping them secret.

The government has been allowed time to consider an appeal. If the judgment stands, the comments are likely to emerge in public in September.

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Why is the UK sending children to an African country with human rights issues?

Say what you like, the UK has a more-or-less good record for looking after children – certainly in comparison with many other countries.

So why are Boris Johnson and Priti Patel sending refugee kids to Rwanda?

That country’s poor history regarding human rights is a matter of record. Its government wants us to think all that is behind it now – but we have no way of knowing the claim is true.

And children require more specialist care than adults – for obvious reasons.

Yes, we see pictures showing that

the Hope hostel in Kigali is building outdoor facilities that will include football pitches, basketball courts and outdoor toys

but how do we know that’s not just for show?

Even then, Boris Johnson refused to visit the facility, triggering alarm bells among some of us. He said it was because it isn’t occupied yet.

And more alarms must have been triggered when the prime minister’s spokesman, challenged on the policy of sending children to the east African country, could only evade the question with the weak response that

“I think 90% of those coming across are men.”

Brace yourself for a torrent of abuse stories – if this policy is put into full practice.

Source: Rwanda making preparations to take children removed from UK

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Are Tory Rwanda deportations part of a nasty election strategy?

Don’t believe the hype: these two are on the same side really.

Found on Twitter: here’s a thread that’s worth reading.

This Site has been making the same point for years, of course.

Of course, if Starmer is allied with the Tories on this issue, then is he really the man to lead the Opposition to them?

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Who thought the first deportation flight to Rwanda would be stopped? You were right!

Priti Patel: she announced the deportation flights in April – and has been humiliated by the cancellation of the first.

Yes – some of us saw this one coming from a long way away!

The first flight to deport people seeking asylum in the UK to live in Rwanda instead has been halted after a series of last-minute legal appeals.

Oh what a shame. Another Priti Patel plan bites the dirt – and not a moment too soon.

The flight was called off after the European Court of Human Rights intervened.

In a statement hours before the flight’s planned departure, the ECHR said it had granted an “urgent interim measure” in the case of an Iraqi man, known only as “KN”, and one of seven remaining passengers.

An out-of-hours judge was then tasked with examining the remaining half dozen cases.

The flight was originally intended to take 30 people to the African country that is accused of human rights abuses – but has been cancelled after the number was whittled down to nothing.

The architects of the scheme – Boris Johnson and Priti Patel – have said this is a setback but they are determined to make it work.

Johnson suggested lawyers representing migrants were “abetting the work of criminal gangs”.

But this is reducing the situation to a ridiculous degree.

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 government has also been accused of acting irrationally in treating Rwanda as a “safe third country”. Critics have correctly pointed out that Rwanda’s record on human rights is flawed.

Still, Patel has vowed that the government will “not be deterred” from its plan and “many of those removed from today’s flight will be placed on the next”.

It’s threatening language from an extremely unpleasant individual.

One can only be left with a sense that the UK’s government is acting against the best interests of the asylum-seekers in its care – unloading them onto a foreign country without the slightest interest in their well-being.

That, of course, is exactly the reason these people don’t want to go.

Johnson and Patel have said they may consider changing the law to make it possible to push the deportations through.

That is exactly the behaviour of a rogue state.

Source: First deportation flight to Rwanda halted after last-minute legal appeals

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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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Priti Patel told to stop lying about refugees by UN agency

Hate face: would you trust Priti Patel with a duty of care over any human beings at all?

Priti Patel should stop lying that refugees from foreign countries arriving in the UK are merely “economic migrants” looking for  a bit of easy money.

That’s the gist of a report by the United Nations’ refugee agency:

The United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) told the Guardian that those travelling by small boat to the UK should be considered to be asylum seekers or refugees, and not migrants.

“Based on currently available Home Office data, UNHCR considers that a clear majority of those recently arriving to the United Kingdom by boat are likely to be refugees. Refugees and asylum seekers are not, and should not be described as, ‘migrants’,” the spokesperson told the Guardian.

“Access to asylum should never be contingent on mode of arrival or nationality. Equally, the only way to establish whether people are refugees is through a fair and efficient determination of their claims, for which the UK has a clear responsibility.”

The intervention comes as the Home Office prepares to deport the first set of people to Rwanda, after Patel announced her intention to emulate a failed Israeli plan to do the same that was wound up a few years ago.

The policy is explicitly focused on people who arrive via so-called “irregular” routes, such as in small boats across the Channel or hidden in lorries.

Here’s the part of the Home Office statement referring to this (that isn’t waffle):

“Only those with inadmissible asylum claims who have made dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys will be relocated and to suggest otherwise is wrong.”

Inadmissible in what way?

Because they arrived by an “irregular” route? Who defines what is an “unnecessary” journey and what are their criteria?

Are they as described by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees? If so, is the UK breaking UN rules again, as it did with sick and disabled benefit claimants?

And will the Tory government get away with it yet again, after the UN proved utterly toothless in effecting change?

Source: Clear majority of people crossing Channel are refugees, says UNHCR

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Home Office staff take government to court with concerns ‘culture of fear’ is illegal

Minister for inhumanity: Priti Patel’s “Hostile Environment” policies have involved Home Office staff in illegal activities in the past. Now she is being challenged in court to prove her plan to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda is not also against the law.

10 years after the launch of the ‘Hostile Environment’ policy, representatives of Home Office staff are challenging the government in court over things they are being asked to do.

The Public and Commercial Services Union and the Immigration Services Union are challenging Priti Patel’s policies to “pushback” small boats in the English Channel and to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda.

They have strong justification: the “pushback” policy is likely to break international law on asylum while the idea of deportations to Rwanda copies a previous policy by Israel – that didn’t work and was abandoned.

And the Conservative government has a record of “Hostile Environment” criminality.

We all know – don’t we? – about the Windrush Scandal that illegally targeted for deportation a generation of people who had the right to live in the UK but whose documentation had been destroyed.

The Home Office has also wrongly accused 34,000 international students of cheating in English language tests and failed to ensure that innocent people were not wrongly deported.

An Institute for Public Policy Research report in 2020 concluded the hostile environment policy had fostered racism, pushed people into destitution, wrongly targeted people who were living in the UK legally, and had “severely harmed the reputation of the Home Office”.

In the wake of the Windrush scandal the Home Office committed to introduce a total transformation of the department, including a review of the hostile environment policies – and failed to complete it.

So it should be no surprise that civil service representatives are trying to protect workers from having to take part in Priti Patel’s potential crimes.

One glance at comments on the “Hostile Environment” policy by Nazek Ramdan, the director of the charity Migrant Voice, should make the reason crystal clear:

“Perhaps no other policy in living memory has left such a malign mark, a stain like an oil slick. It is racist, xenophobic, immoral, illegal, unfair, punishing, divisive, mean-spirited, discriminatory and counterproductive.”

Source: Home Office staff worry they may be asked to act illegally in ‘culture of fear’

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Rwanda policy has made illegal migration problem WORSE

Priti Patel: she and her boss Boris Johnson are the only people who deserve to be carted off to live in an African dictatorship. They’re too stupid and pig-headed to be allowed to stay in the UK’s government.

Priti Patel’s plan to send people accused of being illegal migrants to Rwanda has not stopped boats crossing the channel but has sent some asylum-seekers into hiding – creating a cost, and time, burden for the authorities, while others have resorted to self-harm – creating work for the NHS.

Meanwhile, prime minister Boris Johnson has announced that the government is preparing to deport the first 50 migrants to Rwanda – and to spend who-knows-how-much-money defending the decision in the courts.

So, all things considered, these two idiot Tories have achieved nothing more than a waste of public money, and public organisations’ time.

What a pair of [insert expletive of your choice here].

Apparently, more than 7,000 people have crossed the channel in small boats in the first four months of the year – more than three times as many as last year and more than seven times as many as in 2020.

The latest available government figures show 792 migrants arrived in small boats in the week from 2 to 8 May.

The Tories are saying their deportation policy will take a considerable time to push through, as legal challenges will “take time”.

But Patel said she would not be deterred…

The government says the new scheme will be a major blow to people smugglers and will stop people dying on dangerous routes to the UK.

… certainly not by the facts, it seems.

Meanwhile, Johnson has been taking an opportunity to denigrate the lawyers who will stand up for the migrants’ rights.

In an interview with the Mail, he said:

“There’s going to be a lot of legal opposition from the types of firms that for a long time have been taking taxpayers’ money to mount these sort of cases, and to thwart the will of the people, the will of Parliament. We’re ready for that.

“We will dig in for the fight and we will make it work,” he added. “We’ve got a huge flowchart of things we have to do to deal with it, with the leftie lawyers.”

How strange. It isn’t the “leftie lawyers” who are wasting a fortune on a pointless policy of persecution.

It’s this profligate prime minister and his psychotic home secretary.

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Why did Tory MPs laugh when Chris Bryant RIGHTLY mocked their intelligence?

Led by a donkey: can anybody really blame the Tories for lacking intelligence when this is the quality of their leader (I know it’s a satirical image but it makes the point very well, doesn’t it)?

It seems some Tories aren’t even intelligent enough to recognise themselves.

This has been a bad week for anybody who wants to tell us our Conservative MPs have two brain cells to rub together.

Tory MP Tom Hunt tried to tell us Rwanda was in Europe on the BBC’s Politics Live. In fact, the dictatorship to which Priti Patel wishes to ship people arriving in the UK illegally is in east Africa.

His colleague Ben Bradley, after the Archbishop of Canterbury criticised the government’s Rwanda policy, said: “We separated the church from the state a long time ago … Commenting on government policy is not Justin Welby’s job”. Perhaps he should have been told the Church of England is Britain’s state church and its Archbishops sit in the House of Lords.

And many Tory MPs have tried to convince us that it would be unthinkable to get rid of prime minister Boris Johnson while a war is happening (even though the UK isn’t even a participant in the Ukraine-Russia conflict) – despite the fact that we have done exactly that, many times in the past.

So Chris Bryant, for all his many other faults, should have been cheered when he made his comments in the House of Commons on Thursday (April 21).

He said:

“Can we have a debate on geography and history lessons? I gather that one Conservative Member has recently stated that we are sending refugees to a ‘safe European country, Rwanda’.

“Another Conservative MP said that the Church of England was disestablished many years ago, which will come as news to the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Her Majesty.

“Many Government ministers have also said that we cannot change the prime minister during a time of war, despite the fact that we changed prime minister four times during the Afghan war, once during the first world war, the second world war and the second Boer war, and twice during the Peninsular war. Can we have a debate on the intelligence of Conservative Members?

Here’s a video clip of the moment, for posterity:

Much of the laughter came from Opposition benches but the Conservatives joined in.

But perhaps the most laughable moment was when Mark Harper, Leader of the House, suggested that Bryant should try to raise the quality of his debating.

Tories need to learn that, before criticising others, they need to work on improving themselves.

Source: MPs laugh as Labour MP calls for a debate into the intelligence of Conservative MPs

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