LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Truth about Rwanda

SO our Government has decided not to bother with asylum seekers, but to fly them instead to Rwanda at a reported cost of £30,000 per head, paid for of course by us, plus an “initial” payment of £125 million to the Rwandan government for their participation. This Conservative amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill is I am told entitled “Safe haven for Refugees”, so let’s take a look at this “safe” haven.

Rwanda is a small country in Central Africa, devoted mainly to agriculture, but divided by a bitter class warfare between the two main tribal groups, the comparatively wealthy Tutsi cattle ranchers, and the Hutos, mainly subsistence crop farmers. This escalated with the shooting down in 1994 of the Rwandan president, the Huto leader Habyarimana, and the subsequent genocide of 800,000 Tutsi men, women and children. Despite these losses the army of the Tutsi Rebel Front eventually seized power and remains there today.

The war, however, has cost Rwanda dearly, the country impoverished, its GDP halved, and tribal conflict, murder and genocide still ongoing today. And it is into this scenario that our Government is about to thrust the people coming here from the death and destruction that was once their home, in the mistaken belief that Britain is still a nation where it is possible to find humanity and refuge.

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It has been tried and failed before, as our Home Secretary, Priti Patel, through her powerful pressure group The Conservative Friends of Israel, must be aware. In 2013, Israel deported 4,000 refugees to Rwanda in what was purported to be a resettlement deal. What followed was a plethora of reports of beatings, rapes, robbery, and of those with enough money remaining paying smugglers to help them flee the camps and the country, in some cases into slavery. By 2018 only a reported 18 still remained, living in stateless poverty. Small wonder that the Home Secretary on April 17 stood up in Parliament and openly described the scheme as a “deterrent”.

I was once proud to be British.

Charles David Foulstone, Rotherham Green Party