The Communist Party of Britain stands with all those who oppose the Government’s asylum and refugee plans and above all those who wish to come to Britain and are already here, waiting for their claims to be processed. The proposition to off-shore both the processing of asylum seekers and the legal obligations of this country is dangerous and contrary to international law.
If carried out Britain will not be able to say with any honesty that they are a welcoming country for refugees including those who seek to reside in Britain for a range of reasons – linguistic, war, family connections, discrimination, environmental destruction and poverty. Many of these refugees are not illegal but are forced to travel by unsafe routes because they have no other option.
There are 3 main safe routes to the UK for refugees and their families.
Refugee family reunion – but the Nationality and Borders Bill will all but destroy this vital route.
Refugee resettlement – such schemes almost ground to a halt during the pandemic and has failed those escaping the Taliban.
Humanitarian visas – people can only apply when arriving or via special arrangements that apply for example for those fleeing the war in Ukraine.
There needs to be an expansion of humanitarian visas and more safe routes. These two measures would undermine those the Government has defined as people traffickers.
The Government’s announcement comes as no surprise. They have always favoured the wealthy and their own class. The CP’s solidarity with refugees is based on our international working class solidarity.
Since the introduction of the hostile environment policy in 2012 the Government has made it a policy objective to demonise the ‘wrong sort’ of refugee. We had the ‘go-home’ buses, the invasion stories, the health scares. These scares are consistent with far right European politicians such as Le Pen who subscribe to the so-called ‘displacement theory’. The Nationality and Borders Bill already separates people coming to the UK into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Hence we call for this bill to be defeated.
The Communist Party joins the demand for a recall of Parliament. Johnson originally stated that the announcement would be challenged in the Courts. Then he said he expected the first removals within weeks. This has dire consequences for people already waiting for decisions on their applications.
Home Office Ministers then said it would only apply to adult men. As shown by Child Q the state does not know people’s ages and indeed it is inevitable that children will be deported. It is inevitable that families will be broken up. None will have limited access to support and legal advice.
The detail of the scheme with Rwanda was published on April 14 with commitments made, but we know these will be broken. Measures were rushed and announced during the Easter parliamentary recess. The CP supports those who call for a properly resourced immigration department based on international principles of justice not based on exclusion. Remember Windrush!
Off-shoring asylum seekers and refugees in Rwanda shirks UK international legal obligations, despite the government saying otherwise. Those arriving ‘irregularly’, or who have arrived ‘irregularly’ since 01/01/22, may be sent on a one-way ticket to Rwanda and, if recognised as refugees, will be granted refugee status there.
Offshore processing is immoral, cruel and ineffective. It creates a two-tiered system, discriminating on mode of arrival, where the status is claimed based on threats of persecution or serious harm.
Australia’s similar system has caused years of suffering, with 12 people dying since 2013. Inhumane treatment, medical neglect, and years of indefinite detention which resulted in suicides and an epidemic of self-harm. Detaining one asylum seeker cost Australians GBP£1.8 million annually.
Rwanda’s security forces shot dead at least 12 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo protesting a cut to food rations in 2018, and prosecuted over 60 more on charges including rebellion and “spreading false information with intent to create a hostile international opinion against the Rwandan state.” Rwanda has a track record of extrajudicial killings, suspicious custody deaths, unlawful or arbitrary detention, torture, and abusive prosecutions. This lack of respect for human rights led to the UK government directly raising concerns with Rwanda, and grants asylum to Rwandans in consequence.
The Government has called those who oppose this as both racist and a ‘bunch of lefties’. The accusation is false in both cases. We do not oppose this scheme because it is Rwanda – although as a country it clearly has human rights issues. We oppose it because the scheme is both anti-working class and racist.
The Communist Party has called for organisations to come together to campaign for non-racist immigration and nationality laws. We support calls for all refugees to have access to public funds and be allowed to work. We oppose all racist immigration policy and call for its repeal.
The Communist Party calls upon all those who are opposed to this government to come together to build a mass movement. We call upon trade unions to build links with migrant organisations and support their demands. We must build a movement based on international solidarity not petty nationalism.