Say no to the Rwanda Offshore Detention Scheme – Stand up to Racism


“The government want ordinary people to pay for the cost of living crisis and the Rwanda policy is part of it’s attempt to whip up racism to scapegoat refugees.”

By Sabby Dhalu, Stand Up to Racism

Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Beth Winter will be amongst the speakers addressing the rally outside the Royal Courts of Justice on Monday 5 September coinciding with the hearing to determine the lawfulness of the plans to forcibly deport to Rwanda asylum seekers who arrive in Britain by crossing the English Channel.

The legal action is being taken by Care for Calais, the PCS union, Detention Action and some asylum seekers. Monday’s rally is part of the Stop Rwanda campaign which includes Amnesty International, the Refugee Council, Stand up to Racism and a range of trade unions including the TUC, Unite the Union, Unison, GMB, PCS, CWU, FBU, NEU, NASUWT, Aslef, TSSA, BFAWU and the Musicians Union.

Recently the High Court heard that a Foreign Office Official raised concerns about plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, citing concerns about state surveillance, arbitrary detention, torture and killings by the Rwandan government.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss MP intervened to prevent the publication of 10 passages of government documents relating to the Rwanda deal. However a judge recently ruled that 6 of the 10 passages must be made public.

This followed concerns raised by the UK High Commissioner to Rwanda who said that the UK should not do a deal with Rwanda because it had been accused of recruiting refugees to conduct armed operations in other countries and has a poor human rights record.

The court’s decision to publicise the majority of the foreign office documents is a defeat for the government and Liz Truss, one of the contenders for the Conservative leadership.

Truss is likely to become leader of the Conservative Party and therefore Prime Minister next week. Polls put Truss ahead of rival Rishi Sunak and the result of the leadership election will also be declared on 5 September. Both candidates have shamelessly pledged to continue the controversial Rwanda policy.

The government want ordinary people to pay for the cost of living crisis and the Rwanda policy is part of it’s attempt to whip up racism to scapegoat refugees, distract the British population from the catastrophic cost of living crisis and the government’s failure to support people.

A recent survey showed energy prices mean almost one in four adults in the UK will not switch on the heating at all this winter. The survey of more than 2,000 adults found 23% would make do without heating over winter. That figure was higher for parents with children under the age of 18, with 27% saying they would be forced to switch off heating.

The survey was conducted before Britain’s energy industry regulator Ofgem announced an 80 per cent rise in the consumer price cap from October that will take a typical household’s gas and electricity bill from £1,971 to £3,549 a year. That means many more will be forced to turn off heating.

This is why it’s crucial to support trade unions strike action, the TUC’s campaign for a £15 an hour minimum wage and campaigns like Enough is Enough.

The fight against racism and the cost of living crisis go hand in hand because of the government’s attempt to stir up racism to distract from its failure and to wrongly blame immigrants, black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. Also due to institutional racism BAME communities are disproportionately impacted by the cost of living crisis.

Boris Johnson has stepped down but the government’s racist policies will continue. So keeping up the fight and building the anti-racist movement is crucial.

Featured image: Stop Rwanda signs at a CWU picket on August 31st. Photo credit STUR twitter

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