The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned a British plan to transfer tens of thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda in East Africa, claiming that the measure would not withstand “God’s judgment.”
Justin Welby, speaking at Canterbury Cathedral on Easter Sunday, said the policy unveiled by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week raised “severe ethical problems.”
Under the terms of the agreement, everyone who has entered the UK unlawfully since January 1 could be sent to Rwanda.
Johnson’s government said it would help break up people-smuggling rings and stop the flow of migrants across the English Channel, but lawmakers and NGOs slammed it right once.
“The details are for politics and politicians. The principle must stand the judgment of God and it cannot.
“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,” he said.
Welby is the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, which has around 85 million members worldwide.
Last year, over 28,000 migrants and refugees crossed the Channel from mainland Europe to the United Kingdom.
The landing of migrants on unsafe boats has caused friction between France and the United Kingdom, particularly after 27 migrants drowned when their dinghy deflated in November.
Last week, the British Home Secretary was in Rwanda to sign an agreement that would see some of the U.K’s asylum seekers move to the African country.
Single men who pay people smugglers to get them into the U.K on small boats will be transported to Rwanda to have their asylum requests evaluated. The scheme has been slammed by charities as inhumane.
Thousands of individuals, mostly from France, have started arriving in southern England, putting pressure on the UK government to act.
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