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Government's Rwanda Plan Is 'Against The Judgment Of God', Archbishop Of Canterbury Declares

Government's Rwanda Plan Is 'Against The Judgment Of God', Archbishop Of Canterbury Declares

Archbishop Justin Welby has declared that the goverment's plan to ship refugees off to Rwanda is an affront to God.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has made a scathing intervention to criticise the government's plan to send refugees to Rwanda, claiming that such an act is 'the opposite of the nature of God'.

In his Easter sermon, Archbishop John Welby has claimed that the principle of deporting asylum seekers 4,000 miles from where they sought sanctuary is akin to 'subcontracting our responsibilities' and that such a practice 'does not stand up to the judgement of God', the Guardian reports.

The intervention comes amid mounting questions over the legality of the government’s new £120 million ($157m) scheme, announced by home secretary Priti Patel last week, which would see many asylum seekers arriving in the UK being handed a one-way ticket to the African nation amid questions over the country's human rights record.

Since its announcement the scheme has repeatedly faced widespread opposition, with more than 160 charities and campaign groups urging ministers to scrap what they described as a 'cruel' policy. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

It has also been criticised by opposition parties and even some Conservatives.

Speaking at Canterbury Cathedral on Easter Sunday as part of his annual sermon, Archbishop Welby said that there were 'serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas'.

"The details are for politics and politicians,” he said. “But the principle must stand the judgement of God, and it cannot.

"And it cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values; because subcontracting 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."

The Home Office has responded to the Archbishop's criticisms by claiming that Rwanda is a ‘safe and secure’ location for incoming refugees, and that all asylum claims will be processed in accordance with human rights laws.

However, despite confused media reports claiming that refugees will only be held there while their asylum claim is processed, the truth is that those sent to Rwanda will have no prospect of returning to the UK in any capacity. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The government’s plan is to send all single men who arrive by boats or lorries to Rwanda, but despite Priti Patel’s insistence on taking personal responsibility for the scheme, many wonder whether the plans will ever end up happening at all.

The UN’s refugee agency last night confirmed that its legal protection team were currently assessing the legality of the scheme.

Others claim that should the plans go ahead, they will immediately be challenged in the courts, where the government is likely to be defeated.

Welby’s statements will be accompanied by further criticism from the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, who will use his Easter Sunday address to say how distressing it was last week to 'find that asylum seekers fleeing war, famine and oppression from deeply troubled parts of the world will not be treated with the dignity and compassion that is the right of every human being, and instead of being dealt with quickly and efficiently here on our soil will be shipped to Rwanda'.

“We can do better than this,” he will claim.

Featured Image Credit: Alarmy