UK’s Rwanda asylum plan is ungodly, says Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to say the government’s controversial plan to send some asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda is “the opposite of the nature of God.”

UK’s Rwanda asylum plan is ungodly – Archbishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to say the government’s controversial plan to send some asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda is “the opposite of the nature of God.” 

Justin Welby’s Easter sermon will say that Christ’s resurrection is not a time for “subcontracting our responsibilities.” He will also call for an end to the war in Ukraine and speak about his concern over the cost of living crisis. 

UK’s Rwanda asylum plan 

The £120m scheme was met with immediate backlash as the government tried to defend itself, saying change is needed to protect lives from people smugglers. 

People deemed to have entered the UK unlawfully will be transported to the east African country where they will be allowed to apply for the right to settle. 

More than 160 charities and campaign groups have urged ministers to scrap the plan – describing it as “cruel.” It has also been criticised by opposition parties and some Conservatives.

Mr Welby will say there are “serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas.” 

He will say: “The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgment of God, and it cannot.

“…And it cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values; because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God, who himself took responsibility for our failures.”

Government defends itself – ‘UK has proud history’ 

The Home Office defended the plan, saying the UK has a “proud history” of supporting those in need and resettlement programmes have provided “safe and legal routes to better futures” for hundreds of thousands. 

“However, the world is facing a global migration crisis on an unprecedented scale and change is needed to prevent vile people smugglers putting people’s lives at risk and to fix the broken global asylum system,” a spokesperson said.

The Home Office said Rwanda is “safe and secure” and will process claims in accordance with international human rights laws.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has taken personal responsibility for the plan – issuing a rare “ministerial direction” amid concern from officials that the cost of the scheme is not fully known so the department could not say if it would offer value for money.

It is the second time a ministerial direction has been issued at the Home Office in the last 30 years. 

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