Nicola Sturgeon names UK government plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda 'despicable' and 'shameful'

The First Minister has said the UK government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda are 'despicable' and 'shameful' as the Scottish Refugee Council says plans “breach international law”.

Nicola Sturgeon also said the plans “highlight moral bankruptcy” as she said they are a means to “distract” the public during the Boris Johnson partygate scandal.

The deal would mean single men who arrive in Kent on small boats could be flown four thousand miles to central Africa on a one-way ticket to Rwanda while their case is considered.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is in the African nation to sign a deal for a £120m trial as she said it was a “significant moment for the New Plan for Immigration”.

Yet, commenting on the plans on Thursday morning, Nicola Sturgeon said: “A despicable policy on its own terms. But add the fact that it’s being set out today to distract from partygate and you see the utter moral bankruptcy of this Tory government laid bare.

"Shameful.”

It is understood the plan would be restricted to mostly single men the British authorities believe are "inadmissible”.

The Prime Minister said the scheme the scheme was needed to “save countless lives” from human trafficking.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the UK government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda are 'despicable' and 'shameful' (Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images).

Under the proposal, Rwanda would take responsibility for these asylum seekers, put them through an asylum process, if they are successful at the end of the process, they will have long-term accommodation in Rwanda.

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The Rwandan government said migrants will be "entitled to full protection under Rwandan law, equal access to employment, and enrolment in healthcare and social care services".

The UK Home Office believes existing asylum law will be enough to implement the plan, however, questions remain about the legality of the scheme.

The Scottish Refugee Council claims the policy is a “very clear breach of international law”.

A spokesperson from the Scottish Refugee Council said: “It is state sanctioned violence in practice.

"The timing of this announcement is shamefully political. As pressure mounts on those at the top of this government, they are using the rights and the lives of refugees to deflect from their own political woes. This is utterly reprehensible.

"Anyone could be forced to flee our homes at short notice. Any of us would want to be treated with dignity and respect at one of the most challenging times of our life. Yet this is increasingly very far from the reality a person seeking protection in the UK.”

The spokesperson added: “By bringing in poorly thought out and shoddily operated targeted schemes to bring a very small number of people to safety from specific conflicts, the UK Government is moving to a model of patchwork provision of supporting certain refugees.

"This cannot be a replacement for the universal right to asylum which is enshrined in international law or working in partnership with the UN refugee agency to play our part in resettling refugees from around the world."

Last year, 28,526 people are known to have crossed in small boats, up from 8,404 in 2020 and around 600 people made the crossing on Wednesday.

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