Quakers speak out against forced removals to Rwanda

Quakers say that all people are precious, unique, a child of God. Today we must speak out against the UK government's plans to transport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Plane landing at sunset
The government needs to provide safe routes to Britain. Image: Josue Isai Ramos Figueroa on Unsplash.

Nearly five years ago, Quakers in Britain's Sanctuary Everywhere Manifesto said: 'Through Quakers' longstanding work welcoming newcomers to our shores, we have seen up close that the government's creation of a "hostile environment" is increasingly embedding policies of discrimination into the practices of the British state'. Today's forced removals to Rwanda shows the cruel fruits of that discrimination.


The cruel fruits of discrimination

- Quakers


Quakers around the world have spoken out against policies that criminalise entry into a country. This is 'a policy choice that causes harm and deliberately increases human insecurity'. It breaches international standards and undermines a global rules-based order that seeks to uphold the dignity and rights of all.

A policy ostensibly aimed at people smugglers, but which targets and punishes the people being smuggled, is akin to victim blaming. If anyone else forcibly moved innocent people thousands of miles away against their will, the government would be prosecuting them for people trafficking.

The government claims that those opposing its removals policy offer no alternative. In fact, we and many others have advocated for 'new, peaceful, safer routes of migration including the introduction of humanitarian visas and improved rules for family reunion'. This would be the real way to 'break the model of the people smugglers': nobody would use them if there were safer and easier ways to reach Britain. Providing safe routes for migrants and asylum seekers to reach Britain is both wise and kind, enabling people 'to move in safety and dignity'. It is what our faith and our common humanity call us to do.

A Quaker Statement on Migration