Archbishop revolted by Rwanda refugee plan

Archbishop William Nolan of Glasgow has said he feels revulsion at the British Government’s plans to deport people seeking asylum to Rwanda.

The flights to Rwanda are due to begin this Tuesday and the archbishop said ‘forcibly deporting people who have come to this country in search of safety and security is morally wrong’.

“It is an offence against human dignity and against all the best traditions of welcome of this country,” he went on. “I share Prince Charles’ revulsion at the news that these forced deportations are to go ahead. They represent a new low in the UK’s recent policy of creating a hostile environment for people arriving in this country and the practice should be halted immediately.”

Under the government policy, some of those entering the UK illegally will be flown to Rwanda to apply for asylum there.

The government claims the scheme will discourage asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel, with more than 10,000 people attempting that journey so far this year.

It was reported this weekend that the Prince of Wales had called the policy ‘appalling’.

Archbishop Nolan has a long history of campaigning for the rights of refugees. In 2017, when he was the bishop of Galloway, he visited a migrant camp in Calais and criticised the UK Government’s ‘less than generous’ response to those seeking shelter in this country. 

“There have always been refugees,” he said. “Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus were refugees in Egypt. But we have a refugee crisis for our time that is on an unprecedented scale worldwide. Perhaps if we spent less money funding war and more funding peace; perhaps if we put less effort into selling arms and more effort into eradicating poverty; then fewer people would be forced to leave their homeland and their families.”

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Get the latest Scottish Catholic news. Sign up today.