Two principal aspects of the government’s policy of deporting migrants to Rwanda have not been fully considered: the effectiveness of the policy as a deterrent and its potential to destabilise a densely populated and dangerous regime.
Ill-conceived and expensive
Serious doubt has been expressed by people in government about the lack of forethought and research which has gone into the Rwanda project. The Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Ryecroft said:
“I do not believe sufficient evidence can be obtained to demonstrate that the policy will have a deterrent effect significant enough to make the policy value for money.”
In other words, the whole project may seem like a good idea by the home secretary Priti Patel but she has not attempted to assemble the evidence to justify that view. The policy is not proven to be good value for money.
All cost of this ill-considered ‘experiment’ will be covered by the public purse with an initial costing of £120m. The ongoing cost will potentially be an open-ended drain on the British economy when its people are already struggling with rapidly spiralling prices.
Conservative former minister Andrew Mitchell said housing asylum seekers at the Ritz Hotel would be cheaper than sending the migrants offshore, claiming the cost to the British taxpayer would be £2m per person, per year. Some commentators have estimated £1.4bn.
Yet remarkably, most European countries take twice as many asylum seekers as Britain without needing to sending them to African dictatorships! In 2019 based on an analysis of EU data by the House of Commons Library, once the size of each country was taken in account, the UK received around half the asylum applications than the EU average, far fewer than France, Germany and Spain.
Rwanda: an unstable host country
But there are other serious issues. Sending hundreds, potentially thousands of migrants to Rwanda – a country known for the 1994 genocide of up to 800,000 Tutsi people, a country which also still has a mixed human rights record – seems a very risky strategy.
Human Rights Watch reported in 2022, “The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) continued to stifle dissenting and critical voices and to target those perceived as a threat to the government and their family members. The space for political opposition, civil society, and media remained closed.”
Amnesty International says there are still concerns over “enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force” in Rwanda.
So Rwanda remains unstable, still scarred by its horrendous genocide. Our government seeks to forcibly funnel hundreds, thousands of extremely vulnerable migrants into this environment. An ill-thought through experiment, with the potential to further destabilise that country.
This is grossly irresponsible.
A shameful, neo-colonialist distraction
Charles Moore, former editor of the Telegraph and Johnson’s former boss, observed, “you always knew precisely where you stood with Boris because he always lets you down!” Now he and Priti Patel are letting down the whole country.
Our national reputation for honour, appears, to foreign eyes, to be going up in smoke. As the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero stated (reported in I News), Johnson has taken a leadership role in spearheading the Western response [to Ukraine] … with the aim of distracting local public opinion from domestic issues! “That’s the kind of thing [former Italian prime minister] Berlusconi used to do … to distract attention from his ineptitude and dishonesty.”
Such a neo-colonialist policy for disposing of unwanted individuals has a long history. British social problems (convicts) were first shipped to North America in the 18th century, and then later, after the American War of Independence, to Botany Bay in Australia.
The then inhabitants – first the Native Americans and then later the Australian Aboriginals – had no say in this forced immigration. There was serious friction between the two groups. The parachuting in of migrants into Rwanda allegedly solves a political problem in Britain, but only at the potential expense to Rwanda society. Rwanda is in one of the most densely populated areas in the world; its capital, Kigali, is set to double its population by 2050.
But the long-term impact of Johnson and Patel’s ill-considered policies, designed to generate short term headlines in the UK, has never bothered them. The impact on the migrants and Rwanda does not interest the self-absorbed pair of political chancers. Dragging Britain’s reputation in the dirt does not matter to them.
It is noteworthy that a law-breaking immigrant was sent to Rwanda recently. There is a grave danger he will worm his way back into the country. The majority of people in this country have shown they don’t want this American born individual in England – Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. If he thinks Rwanda is such a good idea for migrants, perhaps he should stay there!