The SNP has called the UK Government’s plans to send refugees for processing in East Africa as a “dodgy deal with a government guilty of horrendous human rights abuses”.
Last week, Boris Johnson set out the scheme which would see migrants entering the UK detained before being flown on chartered planes to Rwanda.
The proposal has faced criticism with questions over the legality and morality of the scheme, as well as the costs involved with flying people 4000 miles away. An economic deal for £120m has been struck with Rwanda and cash for each removal is expected to follow.
The Refugee Council said it is “appalled by the government’s cruel and nasty decision” and stated the move would “do little” to deter people from coming to the UK.
Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, has overseen the country as its human rights record faces heavy criticism.
In an Amnesty International report for 2021/22, the human rights organisation described “violations of the rights to a fair trial, freedom of expression and privacy continued, alongside enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force”.
The organisation’s refugee and migrant rights director warned the move to send people to a country with “such a dismal human rights record” was “the very height of irresponsibility”.
Alyn Smith, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson, called the policy “horrific”.
“A quick look at President Kagame’s record makes clear that ‘Global Britain’ is once again absconding on its responsibility to help those fleeing conflict and violence,” the Stirling MP said.
“Political repression, unjustified arrests, and political assassinations are the norm for Kagame’s government – and the UK has given him a blank cheque to maintain his authoritarianism.
“It is frankly disgraceful that a policy devoid of sense and humanity is being paraded as an example of good governance by a home secretary out of her depth.”
He added: “Refugees should be helped, not flown out to an unfamiliar country thousands of miles away.
“The UK government has made a rod for its own back in pursuing this policy, which will make it harder to hold Kagame’s government to account for human rights abuses.
“Scotland wants no part of this immoral and impractical policy.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Rwanda is a fundamentally safe and secure country with a track record of supporting asylum seekers, including working with the UN Refugee Agency which said the country has a safe and protective environment for refugees.
“Under our Migration and Economic Development Partnership, Rwanda will process claims in accordance with national and international human rights laws, and will ensure their protection from inhuman and degrading treatment or being returned to the place they originally fled.
“The UK and Rwanda do not shy away from difficult conversations and we’re committed to working together to resolve any differences.”
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