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CAMPAIGNERS hit out today at Tory ministers’ “inhumane” treatment of refugees after Priti Patel confirmed that the first migrants facing deportation to Rwanda will be told of their fate this week.
The Home Secretary said that “illegal migrants” who had crossed the English Channel in small boats would be among those receiving removal notices imminently, with the first flights to the African country expected to take place in the coming months.
The scheme, widely condemned as morally repugnant and practically unworkable, follows the government’s new “migration and economic development partnership” with Rwanda.
The new policy already faces its first legal challenge, with law firm InstaLaw arguing that the “publicity stunt” runs counter to international law, the United Nations Refugee Convention and British data protection law.
Ms Patel said: “Britain’s asylum system is broken as criminals exploit and smuggle people into our country at huge costs to UK taxpayers.
“The world-leading migration partnership with Rwanda means those making illegal journeys to the UK may be relocated to Rwanda to have their claims for asylum considered and to rebuild their lives there, helping break the people-smugglers’ business model.
“This is just the first stage of the process and we know it will take time as some will seek to frustrate the process and delay removals.”
However, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts co-founder Zita Holbourne blasted the “absolutely shocking and disgraceful” news, which was announced while most media attention was focused on today’s Queen’s Speech in Parliament.
She told the Morning Star: “We know that it hasn’t been transparent, it hasn’t been clear, there hasn’t been any proper consultation.
“There are some legal challenges taking place and they shouldn’t be going ahead with anything until all of that happens.
“It’s inhumane, it’s racist and it breaches human rights.”
Stand Up To Racism’s Weyman Bennett told the Star: “This criminal act against refugees is aimed to divide and rule.
“This is a racist act to divert people’s attention away from the attack on people’s living standards by the Tories and bosses.
“It is cruel and disgusting – we have to unite to welcome all refugees.”
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants interim chief executive Paola Uccellari condemned the “cruel and senseless” policy.
She saId: “Priti Patel plans to ship LGBTQ+ people and trafficking and torture survivors to Rwanda, putting them at grave risk [and] showing us just how depraved these plans are.”
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