Former asylum seeker, now Thanet adviser, slams UK plan to send ‘illegal route’ migrants to Rwanda – The Isle Of Thanet News

Client Aram Rawf

A Thanet adviser who eventually gained British citizenship after fleeing Iraq has condemned the government’s announcement that people arriving in the UK through ‘illegal channels’ could be sent to West Africa country Rwanda. ballast.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new partnership for migration and economic development saying it ‘will mean that anyone entering the UK illegally – as well as those who have arrived illegally since January 1 – can now be relocated to Rwanda”.

The Prime Minister added: “This innovative approach – driven by our shared humanitarian impulse and made possible by Brexit freedoms – will provide safe and legal pathways to asylum, while disrupting the business model of (smuggling) gangs, as this means that economic migrants taking advantage of the asylum system will not be able to stay in the UK, while those who really need it will be adequately protected, including with access to legal services upon arrival in Rwanda, and will have the opportunity to build a new life in this vibrant country, supported by the funding we provide.

Kigali in Rwanda

“The agreement we have reached is not capped and Rwanda will have the capacity to resettle tens of thousands of people in the years to come.

“And let’s be clear, Rwanda is one of the safest countries in the world, globally recognized for its record in welcoming and integrating migrants.”

The Prime Minister has said that this program will combat the trafficking of people, especially small boats crossing the English Channel. The plan goes hand-in-hand with government spending on new asylum processing centres, including at Manston, and the Royal Navy taking over operational command of Border Force in the English Channel.

Aram 17 years old

Aram Rawf came to the UK aged 17 after fleeing Iraq in the back of a lorry. He had been taken to a mountain camp in northern Iraq – formerly Kurdistan – and tortured by extremists for two months after refusing to undergo suicide bomber training.

A ruse by his older sister led him to the hospital and then to his escape.

More than twenty years later, Aram is a British citizen, Thanet Labor Party councillor, volunteer and campaigner.

The Iraq/Iran war ended in 1988, but thousands of Kurds were killed in a poison gas attack by the Iraqi regime. In 1991, hundreds of thousands more were killed in a failed Kurdish uprising, when Saddam Hussein imposed a blockade on the Kurdish-held area of ​​northern Iraq. The factional groups became embroiled in the civil war, with one side receiving support from Hussein’s troops.

The 40-year-old, who lives and works in Broadstairs, said: “Boris Johnson’s government has hit a new low with the latest decision on sending refugees to Rwanda. Britain is short of workers, the NHS has huge vacancies. After alienating European workers, the government wants them back. Yet he is willing to spend a fortune transporting people to Rwanda to meet their fate in a country condemned for its human rights record and thousands of miles from anyone who can verify their safety.

“What kind of thought is that?” This will not prevent refugees from fleeing disasters, war or dictatorships. Common humanity is completely lacking in this policy, as is basic common sense. And if you think Manston Airport should be saved, are you ready to see flights leave there with people whisked away to an uncertain and possibly deadly future?

“Boris is creating a distraction from partygate and appealing to the worst elements of his supporters in hopes it will influence local elections next year.

“As a former asylum seeker I unreservedly condemn this policy and as a human being I condemn politicians who can invent such cruelty.”

Rwanda and the charitable response to the plan


In 1994, the ethnic genocide in Rwanda killed up to 800,000 Tutsi. The genocide ended when the Tutsi-dominated rebel movement, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), took Kigali. The RPF overthrew the Hutu government and seized power. Since then there has been massive progress in the unification and reconstruction of the country and there has been strong economic growth. However, around 39.1% of Rwandans still live in poverty and a Human Rights Watch report in 2020 said credible sources claimed that arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture in official and unofficial detention centers officials were continuing.

The Rwanda relocation deal has also been criticized by charities.

Zoë Abrams, Executive Director of the British Red Cross, said: “We are deeply concerned that the British government is offering to send traumatized people halfway around the world to Rwanda.

“The financial and human cost will be considerable; the evidence from where offshoring has been implemented elsewhere shows that it causes real human suffering, and the bill that taxpayers will be asked to pay is likely to be enormous.

“Nor are we convinced that this drastic measure will deter desperate people from trying to cross the English Channel. People come here for reasons we can all understand, such as wanting to reunite with loved ones or because they speak the language Making things harder may not stop them from risking their lives.

The charity is calling on the government to urgently rethink plans.

The government says it is “confident” the deal is fully in line with international legal obligations, although the Prime Minister has said he expects it to be challenged in court.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister added: “I know there will be a vocal minority who will think these measures are draconian and lacking in compassion. I simply disagree.

“There is no humanity or compassion in allowing desperate, innocent people to have their dreams of a better life exploited by ruthless gangs as they are taken to their deaths in broken boats.

“And there is neither humanity nor compassion in endlessly condemning smugglers, but in dodging again and again the big calls needed to break the gang business model and stop these boats from coming.

“And there is no humanity or compassion in asking for unlimited safe and legal pathways, offering the false hope of asylum in the UK to anyone who wants it, because it is simply unsustainable.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said Rwanda had one of the strongest records of refugee resettlement and in recent years had resettled more than 100,000 refugees.

She added: “Those who are resettled will receive support, including up to five years of training to help with integration, housing and healthcare, so they can resettle and thrive.

“As part of this groundbreaking deal, the UK is making a substantial investment in the economic development of Rwanda.

“This will support programs aimed at improving the lives of Rwandans and developing the country, the economy, job prospects and opportunities. In addition, the UK will provide funding and expertise to implement this agreement. »

One man’s journey from torture and war to caring for the Thanet community

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