Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

It is the opposite of Christianity: Church leaders condemn UK’s Rwanda asylum plan

Asylum seeker after winning reprieve from flight to Rwanda
Asylum seeker after winning reprieve from flight to Rwanda

Scotland’s religious leaders yesterday branded UK Government plans to offshore refugees to Rwanda “un-Christian and immoral”.

The moderator of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, said flying asylum seekers to Africa contradicts basic teachings of the Christian faith, while Archbishop William Nolan, the Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, also denounced the plan.

They voiced concern as Prince Charles reportedly described Home Secretary Priti Patel’s plan as “appalling”.

On Friday, a legal challenge against the deportations was rejected by the UK High Court and the first flight is due to leave on Tuesday.

Yesterday, an asylum seeker told he was being sent to Rwanda revealed how he won a reprieve and, after travelling north to Scotland, promised a landmark legal action to secure sanctuary.

The Sunday Post View: Cruel and needless, offshoring asylum seekers is a shameful stunt by a shameless Prime Minister

Meanwhile, Dr Greenshields said the court’s decision was “deeply disappointing”, adding: “The teachings of the Christian faith – where we are encouraged to welcome the stranger and support those fleeing persecution – run completely opposite to both the finding of the court and the philosophy of this government. The government believes they have found a solution to keeping refugees out of the country, which is in line with their own deeply flawed approach to both immigration and in particular refugees who are fleeing desperate situations.

“I would call upon the UK Government to think again and adopt a more compassionate and humanitarian outlook rather than send people to Rwanda which is manifestly ridiculous.”

His concern was echoed by Archbishop Nolan, who leads one of the UK’s largest Catholic communities. He said: “The policy of forcibly deporting people who have come to this country in search of safety and security is morally wrong. It is an offence against human dignity and against all the best traditions of welcome of this country.

“It represents a new low in the UK’s recent policy of creating a hostile environment for people arriving in this country and the practice should be halted immediately.”

The church leaders spoke out yesterday as the Prince of Wales reportedly voiced opposition to the Rwanda policy in private claiming he was “more than disappointed” by it.

In April, Clare Downing, Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly, criticised the Rwanda plan, saying “to fail to speak out would be a denial of our gospel calling”, while the Archbishop of Canterbury also denounced the move in his Easter sermon.

‘No one should see what I have seen. I got here and thought the terror was over but it was not’: Asylum seeker reprieved from Rwanda flight mounts Scots test case against policy

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also condemned the Rwanda policy and criticised Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross for defending it. She mocked him for abandoning “independence of thought”, saying: “If he can’t even find it within himself to speak out against a policy as disgusting as this, I’m not sure what he’ll be able to stand up to Boris Johnson on.”

The UK Government insists the plan will help deter people from trying to make the treacherous crossing of the Channel and curb the activities of people smugglers but the number of asylum seekers risking their lives to make the crossing has risen since the policy was announced two months ago.

There were 2,871 arrivals in May compared with 1,619 in the same month last year. Last year, 28,526 people are known to have crossed in small boats – up from 8,404 in 2020.

There have been more than 10,000 so far this year, according to Border Force union officials. Under the Home Office’s Rwanda plan, a five-year trial would see some refugees sent to Rwanda to claim asylum there.

Officials said the move was aimed mostly at single, young migrants who arrive through “illegal, dangerous or unnecessary methods” such as on small boats or hidden in lorries.

Asylum applications have remained stable in recent years in the UK. But in the year ending March 2022 the number of applications increased to 55,146, 56% more than in March 2020.

Claims can now be judged inadmissible if people travel through another country to get to the UK. However, there are currently no recognised or legal safe routes between the UK and countries including Syria, Yemen and Sudan for those trying to escape.

On Friday evening the High Court rejected a legal challenge by refugee charities Detention Action and Care4Calais, which aimed to prevent the first flight leaving to Rwanda on Tuesday. A further challenge – lodged by Asylum Aid – will be heard tomorrow.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I welcome the court’s decision in our favour and will now continue to deliver on progressing our world-leading migration partnership.

“People will continue to try and prevent their relocation through legal challenges and last-minute claims but we will not be deterred in breaking the deadly people smuggling trade and ultimately saving lives.

“Rwanda is a safe country and has previously been recognised for providing a safe haven for refugees – we will continue preparations for the first flight to Rwanda alongside the range of other measures intended to reduce small boat crossings.”