Priti Patel’s cruel, bizarre plan to process asylum seekers in Rwanda is under fire

Refugee solidarity demo
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Refugees crossing the channel will be sent to Rwanda and held there while they are processed. The plan, due to be announced Thursday, is the latest cruel twist to emerge from the Tory’s racist Nationality and Borders Bill. Home secretary Priti Patel took to Twitter Wednesday 13 April to promote her vision:

Full details are due to be announced today. However, the BBC reported that an initial £120m deal had been struck with the Rwandan government.

Read on...

The BBC said that the scheme would mostly see Rwanda:

take responsibility for the people who make the more than 4,000 mile journey, put them through an asylum process, and at the end of that process, if they are successful, they will have long-term accommodation in Rwanda.

The corporation added:

The BBC has seen accommodation the asylum seekers will be housed in, thought to have enough space for around 100 people at a time and to process up to 500 a year. Nearly 29,000 migrants crossed the Channel in 2021.


The plan was quickly slammed by refugee organisations, public figures and social media users. Labour MP Diane Abbot said the plan was cruel, bizarre and pandered to racists:

Meanwhile, one law professor warned the plans were the “stuff of nightmares”:


Another Twitter user pointed out that, only last year, the UK criticized Rwanda’s human rights record:

While someone else dug up the UK’s comments to the UN on the matter, which detailed concerns about deaths in custody, torture and human trafficking:

Some think that even for this government, the plan might be a new low:

Dead cat?

However, context is also vital. One social media user pointed out that the ongoing row about Boris Johnson’s fine for breaking lockdown rules was probably a factor:

The fact that parliament is in recess while Johnson’s alleged criminality is making headlines may also have informed this timing of the asylum plan announcement:

Boris Johnson

The BBC reported that Johnson plans to argue that the move is needed to stop “vile people smugglers” turning the channel into a “watery graveyard” and that while “our compassion may be infinite” our “capacity to help people is not.”

But Johnson’s rhetoric certainly hasn’t convinced many. In fact, a demonstration was immediately called to take place on Thursday 14 April from 6pm outside the Home Office:

The Tories have many motivations, none of them moral. But whatever is driving it, it is clear that Priti Patel plans to have some of world’s most vulnerable people locked up in camps in a human-rights-abusing regime. And we have to resist that every step of the way.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Care 4 Calais, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0.


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  • Show Comments
    1. It’s quite concerning that such a large number of fellow human beings can actually be consciously or subconsciously perceived and treated as though they’re somehow disposable and, by extension, their suffering is somehow less worthy of external concern, even to otherwise free, democratic and relatively civilized Western nations. Perhaps it’s something similar to how human smugglers perceive their cargo when choosing that most immoral line of business.

      A somewhat similar inhuman(e) devaluation is also observable in external attitudes [i.e. by the West], albeit perhaps on a subconscious level, toward the daily civilian lives lost in protractedly devastating war zones and famine-stricken nations; the worth of such life will be measured by its overabundance and/or the protracted conditions under which it suffers and/or even its lack of ‘productivity’. Thus, those people can eventually receive meagre column inches on the back page of the First World’s daily news.

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