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Labour Party denounces Johnson's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

Labour leader Keir Starmer calls government’s plan ‘unworkable,’ ‘extortionate’ for taxpayers

Muhammad Mussa   | 14.04.2022
Labour Party denounces Johnson's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer ( FILE PHOTO - Anadolu Agency )

LONDON

The UK’s main opposition Labour Party on Thursday denounced the government’s plan to implement a controversial immigration plan that would see refugees being sent to Rwanda.

Leader of the Labour Party Keir Starmer said the immigration announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a desperate attempt to distract the country from his law-breaking and described the contentious plan as “unworkable” and “extortionate” for the taxpayers.

“I think we need to see these plans for what they are; it is a desperate announcement by a prime minister who just wants to distract from his own law-breaking. They are unworkable, they are extortionate, they are going to cost taxpayers billions of pounds and they just reflect a prime minister who has got no grip, no answers to the questions that need answering and no shame. I think Britain deserves better than this,” Starmer said.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s former head, also criticized the government’s plan, describing the new policy to resettle asylum seekers and refugees in Rwanda as “shameful and beyond cruel.” The former Labour leader made clear that such plans should be resisted.

“The government’s plan to send refugees fleeing conflict, including those where there has been British involvement, to Rwanda is shameful and beyond cruel. We must build a world of peace and compassion. The plans to ‘offshore’ those seeking safety and security must be resisted,” Corbyn said on Twitter.

Zarah Sultana, a prominent Labour MP, described the immigration strategy as “disgusting” and a distraction to the growing crisis surrounding the “partygate” scandal and the prime minister’s refusal to take responsibility for breaking the law.

“It’s just so disgusting. The Tories are going to forcibly transport people who come to Britain fleeing war and persecution to detention camps in Rwanda. And of course it’s announced now to distract from the PM’s lying and lawbreaking. Sickening cruelty, even by their standards,” Sultana said.

Protests against the new policy have also been launched by activists. A demonstration will be held outside the Home Office in London later on Thursday and a number of petitions have been launched to raise awareness on the matter and to persuade MPs to vote against the policy when it is put to a vote in parliament next week.

“This is urgent. On the 13th April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that his government has signed a contract with Rwanda to build offshore detention camps there, where he will lock up people seeking asylum,” one campaign from ActionStorm said.

“The Rwandan government has a disturbing record of repression and human rights abuses. Rwandan police shot refugees protesting against poor conditions in the camps there. In Rwandan detention centres people - including women and children - have been locked in filthy, crowded cells, and beaten by guards,” it added.

On Thursday Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that thousands of asylum seekers and refugees attempting to enter the UK will be sent to Rwanda for reprocessing in an attempt at what he calls gaining back control of the UK’s borders and putting an end to illegal people smuggling across the English Channel.

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