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Sunday, October 01, 2023

Immoral and wrong

At last, a high-ranking official, who is in the position to know, has unwittingly revealed that what we are all thinking about the plan by right wing Tory Ministers to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, may well be correct.

The Guardian reports that Johnston Busingye, high commissioner of Rwanda, backs the UK government’s plan to send asylum seekers to his country, but said ministers needed to examine the driving forces of migration. He said it was “immoral” for Britain to claim to be a compassionate country:

Busingye was covertly filmed in a meeting in a London club in an investigation by the campaign group Led By Donkeys conducted with the journalist Antony Barnett. The ambassador was told he was meeting a businessman from a south-east Asian company wanting to invest in his country.

His scathing comments are published after Braverman last week called for reform of the global migration system, warning uncontrolled migration was an “existential challenge” to western nations.

The investigation also raises new questions over the government plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda and its record on human rights. The court of appeal ruled in June the plan was unlawful and the government has appealed to the supreme court, with a hearing in October.

Busingye appeared to speak dismissively about evidence that 12 refugees were shot dead by police in Rwanda in 2018. He said: “Yes, it might have happened, but so what?” The ambassador said this weekend in response to questions from the Observer that the fatal shootings in western Rwanda were a tragedy.

During the meeting at the Travellers Club in St James’s in August, he was asked what he would say to the prime minister or home secretary about the UK’s immigration policy. He responded by saying he would tell them it was “absolutely wrong”.

“They should have a long-term idea,” he said. “They should have a long-term policy of making it a choice for people not to risk their lives coming to the UK. Because right now, many people are not coming here because of war in their country. No, they’re coming here because they are hopeless. They’re coming here because they have no future.”

He said it was “immoral” for the UK to regard itself as a compassionate country. “[It] is immoral for this country to still see themselves as the refugee country, the solace country, the protection country, the compassion country,” he said. “They enslaved millions of people for 400 years. They destroyed India, they destroyed China, they destroyed Africa.”

The ambassador seemed perturbed over the media coverage of the fatal shootings of Congolese refugees protesting outside a UN high commissioner for refugees office in the Karongi district over cuts to food rations in February 2018.

He said: “Well, there is an incident in 2012 where the police shot 10 refugees. Yes, it might have happened, but so what? Here in the UK, someone is shot every day and it is on BBC and it is everywhere.”

The ambassador said this weekend that he got the year of the shootings wrong. The reported number of dead is at least 12, according to reports compiled by Human Rights Watch.

During the meeting, the ambassador appeared reluctant to give a categorical assurance that any refugees transported to Rwanda from the UK would never be returned to their home country.

He said: “Even if it happened, in the unlikely event that it happened, how many times would it happen? And in broad daylight? We have a double British and Rwandan supervisory committee. It’s very independent.” Busingye was confirmed as high commissioner for Rwanda, an ambassadorial-level appointment, in March 2022, despite opposition from some MPs, including former Tory leaderIain Duncan Smith.

Busingye was justice minister when Paul Rusesabagina, whose efforts in saving more than 1,200 people from death were documented in the film Hotel Rwanda, was allegedly abducted and detained on charges including terrorism by the Rwandan government in August 2020 after being tricked into taking a chartered flight from Dubai to Rwanda.

We knew already that the government had abandoned compassionate conservatism some time ago, and that many of their policies are racist and in defiance of international law, this covert interview just confirms that.
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