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Letter to the Editor: anger at broken asylum policy

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Dear Editor,

The new Safety of Rwanda Act and the subsequent cruel detention of many asylum seekers this week in preparation for deportation to Rwanda, marks a new low in this government’s disastrous, broken asylum policy.

Members of Nailsworth Quaker meeting are shocked and appalled at the inhumanity and blatant disdain for international human rights and our judicial system which this act sets in motion.

The passing of this law is a desperate and reckless attempt by a failing government to win votes. Yet far from “stopping the boats”, all evidence shows that the desperate people who have fled for their lives will continue to cross the channel as they have no alternative.

It is clear that in the government’s eyes it does not matter whether Rwanda is safe or not – it is enough just to make a law saying it is in order to justify the unjustifiable. Indeed just this week the First Division Association Civil Service union has mounted a legal challenge to the Rwanda plan, saying the new law could force officials to break international law contrary to the Civil Service Code of Conduct. 

The United Nations has declared that this legislation marks a further step away from the UK’s tradition of providing refuge to those in need. Quakers believe in a world where justice, compassion and deep respect for human rights form the cornerstones of our society.

This means recognising the rights of people fleeing war and repression to find a safe haven no matter how they arrive; it means recognising the need to take our fair share of the world’s refugees ; it means fixing our chaotic asylum system, and speeding up the processing of claims; it means allowing asylum seekers the dignity to be able to work and contribute to our society instead of left in agonising limbo; above all it means prioritising the development of safe routes in cooperation with our international partners so people seeking sanctuary may arrive in a welcoming way rather than sent off to detention camps and deported on planes like criminals. 

John Miles, and Meg Walker 

Co-Clerks, Nailsworth Quaker Meeting 

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