Leaders of Scotland’s three largest Christian churches have condemned the UK government’s bid to jet asylum seekers to Rwanda. The first flights are due to leave later today, Tuesday, June 14th.
Archbishop William Nolan of Glasgow, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland have all criticised plans to remove asylum seekers and refugees from the UK to the African country.
Archbishop Nolan of Glasgow Archdiocese said: “The policy of forcibly deporting to Rwanda people who have come to this country in search of safety and security is morally wrong.
“And we’re going to send them off to Rwanda, not because that’s good for them, because we hope that the thought of going to Rwanda will deter them from crossing the Channel. That’s really quite appalling.”
The Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, said that those ‘being deported came to the UK not out of choice but in an act of desperation, to flee persecution at a time when their lives were in danger’.
“Their need is obvious and their fears are real, and yet our response is not to help them but to send them away, send them far way, into further uncertainty,” he said. “There must be another way; there has to be another way.”
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Rev Iain Greenshields said ‘the teachings of the Christian faith – where we are encouraged to welcome the stranger and support those fleeing persecution – run completely opposite to the philosophy of this government’.
“I would call upon the UK Government to think again and adopt a more compassionate and humanitarian outlook rather than send people to Rwanda which is manifestly ridiculous,” he said.