The Home Secretary has been branded morally bankrupt by refugee support workers over contentious plans to stop small boats crossing the Channel.
Mohammad Asif, director of Afghan Human Rights Foundation, attacked Suella Braverman’s bill saying it was scapegoating vulnerable people as a diversion from political and social crises.
He spoke out yesterday as the UK Government minister visited Rwanda where she intends to send arrivals. The £140 million plan has been hindered by legal challenges but Braverman said the move “will act as a powerful deterrent against dangerous and illegal journeys”.
The visit yesterday was her first to the country as Home Secretary after her predecessor, Priti Patel, signed the agreement in April last year in a bid to deter people from travelling to the UK in small boats.
Asif also said the UK Government’s treatment of asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen was in stark contrast to the way Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion had been treated.
He said the intention to detain all migrants arriving on small boats after paying people smugglers was “corrupt, morally bankrupt and racist”, adding “if Britain stopped bombing and illegally invading other countries then fewer refugees would come here”.
“We are in the middle of an energy crisis, a cost-of-living crisis, an inflation crisis where some shops can’t even get stocks of tomatoes in,” he said.
“Asylum seekers are an easy target and get blamed for all of that to deflect attention from the government and their mismanagement.
“They are inciting hatred. It is all intentional. They want to create a situation where if you’re brown, black and Muslim you’re not allowed to claim asylum in the UK.
“The UK has been involved in different illegal wars and they have created 37 million refugees. Britain has a moral responsibility to help provide shelter to those fleeing conflict.
“There is no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker. Seeking asylum is an international human right that must be protected.”
Meanwhile Professor Alison Phipps, Unesco chairwoman for Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, said the UK was preparing to commit a crime against humanity with its controversial bid to condemn people to illegal status for fleeing conflict.
She warned the UK aimed to abandon the European Convention on Human Rights, adding: “After the Holocaust, Genocide Watch was set up. They have a 10-point index of stages of genocide.
“It’s really frightening where we are. The first stage is classification, stage four is dehumanisation, there is stage of organisation and we are seeing the state organising against people. We are up at stage six.”
The Government’s Illegal Migration Bill aims to detain people crossing the English Channel until they can be forcibly removed either to their home country or to Rwanda.
Justice And Peace Scotland, which advises the Scottish Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church on issues such as social justice, human rights, and climate change, also criticised the bill.
It said: “We must stop blaming the victims and stop profiting from their misery and work for a genuine lasting justice and peace in our world.”
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