United Kingdom

Archbishop Justin Welby: Rwanda’s Immigration Plan “Cannot Fail God’s Judgment”

The head of the Anglican Church has intervened sharply in the government’s controversial plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday that politics could not stand up to God’s judgment.

He said the measures announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Interior Minister Priti Patel this week “cannot bear the brunt of our national responsibility as a country shaped by Christian values”.

He said that this was “because subcontracting our responsibilities, even to a country that strives to do well, such as Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God, who himself took responsibility for our failures.”

What you need to know – Listen for news and analysis

Earlier this week, the government announced plans to restrict the passage of migrants across the English Channel in small boats, and people believed to have entered Britain illegally from 1 January could be sent to Rwanda, where they will be allowed to apply for asylum in an African country.

The measures are facing fierce reaction from opposition parties, some within the Conservative Party, and charities.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Refugees) opposed the plans, and on Saturday Robina Qureshi, director of the Homeless Refugee Charitable Organization Positive Action in Housing, said: “The country’s refugee policy must be clear by now.

“It’s not about saving the skins of refugees, it’s about saving the skin of this government.

Conservative lawmakers backed the plans, saying the small boat issue was important to voters.

However, the archbishop is expected to say that there are “serious ethical issues regarding the sending of asylum seekers abroad.”

He will say: “The details are for politics. The principle must withstand God’s judgment and cannot. She cannot bear the burden of the resurrection of justice, of life conquering death. It cannot bear the weight of the resurrection, which was first and foremost appreciated, because it gives privileges to the rich and powerful. ”

Interior Minister Priti Patel and Rwanda Minister Vincent Biruta Credit: Flora Thompson / PA

Earlier, former refugee child and Labor peer Alf Dubs said ministers would face opposition from the Lords over the plan.

In an interview with The Guardian, Lord Dubs said the government was trying to “ride rough” on international agreements.

He said: “I think this is a way to get rid of people who the government does not want, to throw them out in a distant African country, and they will not have a chance to get out of there again.

“I think this is a violation of the 1951 Geneva Refugee Conventions. You can’t just walk around them as unwanted people.

However, the Interior Ministry and Ms. Patel defended the plans.

She said she expects other countries to follow the example of the United Kingdom, while the Home Office insists its approach is not in breach of refugee agreements.

Ms Patel said Denmark could be among those who would replicate the “plan” of the UK government.

“Now there is no doubt that the model we have presented, I am convinced, is world-class and for the first time in the world and will be used as a plan for the future, there is no doubt about that,” said Ms. Patel.

“I would not be surprised if other countries start coming directly to us against this background.

A group of people believed to be migrants arrived by inflatable boat at Kingsdown Beach, near Dover, Kent. Credit: PA

The interior minister said Copenhagen was in talks with Rwanda, adding that the Council of Europe “also said it was interested in working with us”.

But Lord Dubs, who came to the United Kingdom from what was then Czechoslovakia on one of the Kindertransport trains in 1939, told The Guardian that there would be legal challenges and opposition from colleagues.

“If (Ms. Patel) says she’s going to get rid of the left-wing lawyers’ claims, well, I think she may have something else to do. “My understanding is that they will have real difficulties to deal with this anyway,” he said.

The SNP also criticized the plan, condemning it as a “cataclysmic loss of taxpayers’ money”.

Home Affairs spokesman Stuart MacDonald, an MP, described it as a “disgusting policy” and called on Westminster to abandon the plan and use the money to support people affected by the cost of living crisis.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said: “Our broken asylum system currently costs UK taxpayers £ 1.5 billion a year – the highest amount in two decades.

“This world-leading migration partnership will review the broken asylum system of the United Kingdom. This means that those who arrive dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily in the UK can be relocated to have their asylum applications processed and, if recognized as refugees, build their lives there.

“There is nothing in the UN Refugee Convention that hinders relocation to a safe country. Under this agreement, Rwanda will process claims in accordance with national and international human rights law and the Convention.