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Surely there is an answer to refugee crisis?


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The Real Mackay by Dan Mackay

The UK government's refugee policies have come under attack from the UN.
The UK government's refugee policies have come under attack from the UN.

My words to describe the plan would be “malevolent psychopathy”.

But how did you react to Home Secretary Priti Patel’s plans to deal with the migrant crisis by sending refugees to Rwanda for “processing”?

Local MP Jamie Stone described it as “utterly shameless” whilst the Guardian correspondent and former Tory MP Simon Jenkins thought it was “beyond callous”.

Under the plans, all those crossing the English Channel will be rounded-up and considered for relocation to the land-locked central African country. Renowned for political repression the one-party state has a record of human rights violations and crackdowns on free speech.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said the plan was “against the judgement of God” – essentially “ungodly” – whilst some Conservative backbenchers railed at the likely costs involved in flying asylum seekers 4000 miles to sub-Saharan detention centres, even suggesting it would be cheaper to book The Ritz!

Many will remember Rwanda as the genocidal charnel house when, back in the mid-90s, up to a million people were hacked to death during horrific machete attacks between the warring Hutu and Tutsi tribes.

Initial costs of £120 million to essentially create the UK’s own version of Guantanamo Bay are predicted to overrun and have come under attack from the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), which has strongly condemned the plans as unacceptable.

Priti Patel has already signed the controversial contract despite widespread misgivings within the Home Office with one newspaper, the i, claiming: “Privately, officials are spitting blood at the callous nature of the whole scheme. Many simply cannot get their heads around why the UK would treat people so poorly.” Reports have emerged that the deal could be a breach of international law. Yet the first shipments under the flagship policy are said to take place within days.

Beleaguered Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain is doing the refugees a favour and saving them from “vile people smugglers”. Figures show that 7240 people have reached our shores in the last four months. Is this Rwanda scheme the best that Britain can come up with?!

The late Desmond Tutu of South Africa, famous for his reconciliation initiatives, had long promoted another approach suggesting “we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they are falling in”. But there we find what might be an ugly and inconvenient truth.

Remember the Nato air strikes on Libya during the Gaddafi débâcle? Far from a cure it unleashed an internal civil war, which many thousands have since attempted to flee. Italy wanted to bomb boats on Libyan shores to keep the crisis at home!

The US, Russia, UK and everybody and their dog have fought at some point in Syria, another example. Cities, like Aleppo, have been razed to the ground and no longer exist. Where would you go?

Are we repeating the same mistakes in Ukraine? Only time will tell but we do seem to have a double standard in welcoming – and rightly so – Ukrainian refugees… Some might call it hypocrisy. No?

However you process it, where is the justice, the compassion, the humanity?


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