The leader of the Church of England has criticised the UK government’s new immigration strategy that will send asylum seekers to Rwanda to process their claims, in his annual Easter Sunday sermon.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby added his voice to the widespread criticism the scheme has sparked, including from human rights organisations and the United Nations.
While “the details are for politics and politicians,” Welby suggested that sending asylum seekers overseas posed serious ethical questions. “The principle must stand the judgement of God and it cannot,” Welby said.
A country like Britain formed by Christian values cannot “sub-contract out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda,” the church leader continued. It “is the opposite of the nature of God.”
When unveiling the policy last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had already suggested there could be legal challenges to the plans.
But the interior ministry, or Home Office, which is in charge of implementing the policy, argued that Britain’s current system was “broken” and pointed to unprecedented global migratory pressures.
Johnson has pledged to do “whatever it takes” to ensure the plans work – but the UN refugee agency UNHCR condemned the scheme as an “egregious breach of international law.”
According to Rwanda, the British government will fund the deal by up to 120 million pounds and migrants would be “integrated into communities across the country.”
British media from the left-leaning Guardian to the conservative Daily Telegraph on Saturday warned the policy could spark a “mutiny” among civil servants tasked with making the scheme operational. (Source: The Straits Times)