We shouldn’t be bringing in legislation to try to frustrate and obstruct asylum applications from refugees. It’s an infringement of internationally agreed Human Rights and shows a gross lack of humanity on our part.
But why Rwanda anyway?
UK has already got experience with this sort of thing – for did we not pioneer the concept of the Concentration Camp in the 1900s during the Boer War? (as exposed by Millicent Fawcett and Emily Hobhouse). Of course in those days the mortality rate was very high due to maladministration, malnutrition, poor conditions, poor hygiene and overcrowding – of the 150,000 interned in the camps 48,000 died. The deaths were mainly among the Boer children and about 24,000 of them died – roughly half of all the Boer children in South Africa.
Of course now, in the 21st century, conditions in general have improved and we would undoubtably manage such matters with lower death rates this time.
We’ve got Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Isle of Man that are nearer, safer & cheaper. The Isle of Man has of course been used already for interning foreigners during WW2.
Then there are the British Dependent Territories, e.g. St Helena, Falklands, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Ascension Island, South Georgia, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tristan da Cunha – not really less suitable than Rwanda!
An alternative, somewhat at arms length, is the possibility that UK might lease Rottnest Island in Western Australia. This already has facilities in place from its extensive use between 1838 and 1931 for aboriginal people working in chain gangs on construction, farming and other forms of labour. During WW2 it was re-used for housing Germans and Austrians. So maybe it could be restored to its status as a prison island for the purposes of His Majesty’s Government?
Or perhaps the H-Blocks could be repurposed? Though I suppose that Good Friday Agreement might preclude that!
But the processing of asylum claims could really become an important industry in the lucky colony (whoops, ‘Dependent Territory’) that’s chosen – and it might make it even bigger profits than money laundering!
And finally there’s Akrotiri and Dhekalia – Britain’s Guantanamo Bay in the Med – though if we follow the American example it might make the Cypriots rather twitchy.
Anyway the use of Rwanda is a detail – an expensive and dishonourable one – but a detail. And it is a cowardly application of the tactic of “out of sight – out of mind”.
We should live up to our responsibilities and accept asylum applications to our country in our own country. We should process them in a timely manner within our own jurisdiction, using our own citizens and having these applications adjudicated by our own officials with an appeal system to our own judiciary.
We pride ourselves on being a “sovereign country” – so why the Rwanda cop-out? It’s not even as if it’s fooling anyone!
(pic British Concentration Camp for Boer Women & Children 1900 Wikipedia)