A group of high-ranking Bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have hit out at the government over its plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
In a letter to The Times, a group of 20 senior Church of England figures, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, said the government’s “immoral” plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda should “shame us as a nation”.
The letter argues that the UK’s “Christian heritage” should inspire the country to “treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries.”
It continues in arguing that the UK must not “outsource” its ethical responsibilities or seek to “discard international law – which protects the right to claim asylum.”
“This immoral policy shames Britain,” the letter says.
The letter comes as a flight carrying up to eight asylum seekers is set to leave London today, after any last-minute legal challenges are heard.
Although dozens of people were initially set to be sent to Rwanda, this number has now dropped to no more than eight, following a series of successful challenges in courts.
The flight is set to be the first in a five-year trial period, through which asylum seekers deemed to have entered the country illegally will be sent to the east African country to claim refuge.
Those sent to Rwanda will initially be given accommodation and support while the Rwandan government considers their applications as to whether they should be allowed to stay.
However, those who are not successful in their applications risk being deported from Rwanda.
The Archibishops’ letter comes after Prince Charles reportedly said the government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda is “appalling.”