UK Asylum Plans Under Fire as Rwanda Flights Draw Closer

New concerns emerge as a government report reveals dire poverty and malnutrition in Rwanda, casting doubt on the UK’s asylum relocation plan to the country. Here’s the full story.

Rwanda Plan

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made Rwanda policy, which seeks to send asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda, a central part of his policy programme. 

Series of Challenges

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The plan, which Sunak inherited from disgraced Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has been hit with a series of challenges to its implementation, not the least of which is the declaration from the UK’s Supreme Court that the plan is illegal under international law. 

Casting Doubt

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The troubled proposal seemed to hit another roadblock this week following a report commissioned by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) that cast doubt on Rwanda’s feasibility as a destination for UK asylum seekers. 

Extreme Poverty

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The report underscores critical issues surrounding extreme poverty and hunger prevalent in the country, which paints a grim picture of the future asylum seekers might face if relocated there.

Damning Statistics

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The FCDO’s report unveils damning statistics regarding the prevalence of poverty in Rwanda. A staggering 56.5% of the population lives on less than $1.90 daily. 


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The analysis also found that poverty reduction efforts have “stagnated” since 2014, exacerbating the situation further and that significant shortcomings in Rwanda’s social protection program exacerbate the poverty crisis. 

Limited Reach

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The program’s limited reach, described by the report as “considerably below the level of need,” fails to adequately address the population’s requirements, resulting in higher levels of malnutrition and lower human capital development. 

Underlying Causes

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Research commissioned by the FCDO delves into the underlying causes of Rwanda’s poverty epidemic. Land scarcity, limited livelihood options, and climatic factors like landslides have contributed to reduced food intake, reliance on credit for food purchases, and children’s withdrawal from school. 

“Growth Is Not Trickling Down”

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The report’s stark language states, “Growth is not trickling down and leading to poverty reduction. More needs to be done … to establish sustainable livelihoods and effective pathways out of poverty.”

Damning Revelations

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Amidst these damning revelations, the UK government persists in its plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. 

World’s 23rd Poorest Country

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Despite being one of the world’s wealthiest nations, the UK’s decision to partner with Rwanda ranked as the world’s 23rd poorest country, sheds light on how little research was done before Johnson announced the plan, which many have suggested was a hail mary by the former Prime Minister to reduce the salience of immigration as an issue for the government. 

Within Weeks

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The Home Office aims to send asylum seekers to the poverty-stricken country within a few weeks, despite growing concerns over the viability of the Rwanda scheme.

Questioning the Rationale

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Author Michela Wrong, who wrote Do Not Disturb, a book which savages the rule of current Rwandan president Paul Kagame, questioned the rationale behind choosing Rwanda as a destination to ship asylum seekers off to. 

“An Incredibly Poor Country”

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Wrong stated, “The bottom line is Rwanda is an incredibly poor country, and it has a real problem with malnutrition. Rwanda has always been a bizarre choice to send asylum seekers to, given its poverty. It doesn’t have enough land to go round, and many are engaged in subsistence farming.”

National Audit Office

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The National Audit Office revealed significant financial implications associated with the Rwanda scheme. The projected cost of £1.8 million per asylum seeker for the initial 300 individuals is yet another damning indictment of the Rwanda scheme, which the government is determined to follow through on for what seems like political posturing on immigration. 

Legal Challenges

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There are also legal challenges against the plan, mainly based on concerns about human rights and the inadequacy of Rwanda’s infrastructure to handle cast-offs from the UK’s asylum policy.

“Wasted Hundreds of Million of Pounds”

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Toufique Hossain of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, which is currently taking on the UK Government in the European Court of Human Rights, was frank in their criticism, stating, “In Rwanda, 56.5% of people are living below the international poverty line. The UK government’s obsession with the Rwanda scheme has wasted hundreds of millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money.”

“Morally and Legally Bankrupt”

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They continued, “The government wants to transport vulnerable people, who have fled war and persecution, to endure more suffering in a country the UK accepts to be struggling with malnutrition and abject poverty, in circumstances where the UK’s supreme court has declared the country unsafe for those people. The plan is both morally and legally bankrupt.”

“No Right To Remain”

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In response to mounting criticism, a government spokesperson attempted to defend the seemingly doomed policy, stating, “Rwanda is a suitable and safe country to relocate and support those who have no right to remain in the UK. Under our partnership we have invested £220m into Rwanda to boost economic growth. This funding has been focused in areas such as education, agriculture and healthcare to benefit both migrant and host communities.”

Significant Challenges

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Despite the government’s protestations, the FCDO report’s revelations regarding extreme poverty and malnutrition in Rwanda present significant challenges to the UK’s asylum relocation plan. 

Morality, Legality and Human Cost

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With serious questions being asked over the morality, legality and human cost of the scheme, the people who will suffer the most are some of the most vulnerable people on the earth: asylum seekers.

The post Poverty Abroad: UK Asylum Plans Under Fire as Rwanda Crisis Deepens first appeared on Swift Feed.

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