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Refugee rights groups hit back after Patel claims Rwanda-deal critics have ‘failed to offer solutions’

HOME SECRETARY Priti Patel sparked fresh anger today after accusing her Rwanda asylum deal critics of failing to provide their own solutions to tackling trafficking gangs. 

In a joint article in The Times with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, Ms Patel defended plans to transfer asylum-seekers on a one-way ticket to the east African country for processing. 

Claiming the proposals would help end the “deadly trade” of people trafficking, she wrote: “We are taking bold and innovative steps and it’s surprising that those institutions that criticise the plans fail to offer their own solutions.

“We can provide legal, safe, orderly and controlled ways for people to better their lives, flee oppression, persecution or conflict and enjoy new opportunities.”

The letter comes in response to resounding condemnation of the plans, including by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who branded them “ungodly” in his Easter sermon on Sunday. 

But incredulous campaigners hit back at Ms Patel’s comments today, accusing her of refusing to listen to their solutions to the issue of small boat crossings.

Refugee rights groups have long called for the government to open safe and legal routes to Britain which they argue would end the people smuggling trade over the Channel overnight. 

Addressing Ms Patel in a post on Twitter, Stand for All director Daniel Sohege said: “We have all been telling you for a very long time how to tackle both trafficking and smuggling, but you haven’t listened because it would also involve actually providing safety for asylum-seekers instead of dumping them elsewhere.”

Mr Sohege said that solutions such as dropping carrier liability fines for airlines, trains and ferries, issuing humanitarian visas, and facilitating easier access to the asylum system would all prove “more effective than shipping people 4,000 miles away.” 

Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights programme director Steve Valdez-Symonds said that the “straightforward solution” was for the government to enable people with connections in Britain to make their asylum claims here. 

“That would save many people the misery [and] harm of policies [and] practices that compel them to rely on smugglers [and] risk other exploitation.”

Several protests were held across the country at the weekend, including in Brighton and Glasgow, opposing the deal as anger over the policy continued to mount across the political spectrum. 


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