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Britain’s Rwanda asylum plan under fire

20 July 20220 comments

Britain’s Home Office has been accused of “denying reality” by claiming that asylum seekers are “fine” with being sent to Rwanda, even after they have threatened to kill themselves in detention.

Government documents published by the Observer newspaper revealed Home Office officials said an Afghan man “was fine with going there (Rwanda)” just days after he had threatened to kill himself amid anxiety he would never see his children again.

The revelation comes amid controversy around the British Government’s plan to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda for immigration processing.

After the Home Office said the Afghan detainee was OK with being sent 4,500 miles to east Africa, he attempted to kill himself twice; once by drinking shampoo and once by hanging himself, the Observer reported.

And more recently, he told volunteers that he was planning to throw himself off the third floor of the immigration detention centre at Heathrow Airport.

Founder of the refugee charity Care4Calias Clare Moseley, which has supported after 125 asylum seekers who have been told they will be deported to Rwanda, accused the Home Office of creating an alternative reality to suit its “cruel” agenda.

“It is deeply shocking that the Home Office is saying that someone who is suffering extreme mental anguish due to fear over their future and that of their children is fine with being forcibly removed to Rwanda when the extent of their distress so clearly demonstrates the opposite. The Home Office is denying reality,” Ms Moseley said.

Britain’s policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda has been described by critics as “shameful” and one of the most pernicious in the ruling Conservative Party’s recent history.

But all of the Conservative leadership candidates have promised to keep the policy in an attempt to appeal to right-wing members of the party who, opinion polls suggest, are in favour.

Meanwhile, protest groups across Britain are demanding that the government’s plans to send refugees and asylum-seekers to Rwanda be stopped.

The peak union body, the Trade Union Congress, joined forces with campaign groups Care4Calais and Stand Up To Racism to organise the protests.

Protests took place in Nottingham, Coventry, Dudley, Cambridge, Norwich, Manchester, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Leeds, York, Shrewsbury, Harlow, Tower Hamlets in east London, Lewisham in south-east London, Stoke and other centres.

Some protests targeted detention centres where refugees are incarcerated.