This morning the Prime Minister made an announcement that we hoped would never happen.
For months there have been rumours off “offshore” processing centres in far flung places. This would mean people arriving to the UK to seek sanctuary would swiftly be transported to a camp in another country whilst their asylum claim was processed.
Today those fears become a reality – and they’re worse than we thought.
From today, anyone arriving to the UK without official permission, may be transported to Rwanda. Rwandan authorities would then process the person’s asylum application and if they are successful – that is if the person has a valid claim for asylum and therefore is eligible for refugee protection – would have to stay in Rwanda.
The UK government are saying that people will not be able to return to the UK, even if their asylum claim is successful.
That’s Afghan interpreters who worked for the British army who didn’t make it onto an evacuation flight, desperate Ukrainians unable to wait weeks for a visa, fathers and sons trying to reunite with family, and so so many others fleeing persecution – all shipped away, with no way back.
We know that sending people to offshore processing camps not only leads to catastrophic human harm, but astronomically costly. The Australian offshore system has been condemned by the UN Commission for Human Rights. It has led to widespread suicide, self-harm, sexual violence and neglect – it has also cost 12 billion Australian dollars, that’s about 4 million dollars per person…
The UK’s offshore processing scheme is estimated to cost £1.44 billion per year.
At a time when the UK government says it can’t help people with their energy bills, this unspeakably cruel and staggeringly expensive plan seems preposterous.
The government claims that this will stop people from risking their life by crossing the Channel in small boats. We all know that the only way you stop people getting into those boats is by offering safe alternative ways to travel.
We have to fight this, with everything we have.
Despite its rhetoric on Ukraine, the government has shown its true colours when it comes to welcoming refugees. We call on MPs to distance themselves from this cynical stunt and vote against the Nationality and Borders Bill when it returns to the Commons next Wednesday.
Make sure your MP is on the right side of history – see here for template letters, tweets and more.