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Statement on the government’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

Having previously added our name to a letter condemning the proposed nationality and borders bill MRJ strongly supports this statement from JCORE:

“The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE) condemns in the strongest possible terms the government’s inhumane plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda for offshore processing. Such a policy would be a cruel, moral failure, and an appalling abdication of responsibility.

It is utterly shameful that the government is choosing to punish, not protect, people fleeing conflict and persecution. Australia’s usage of an offshore system has been a human rights disaster: It is unconscionable that the government is seeking to replicate such a model in Rwanda, a country frequently condemned for its appalling human rights record. If ministers want to avoid repeating such horrific abuses and violations, they must urgently rethink these plans.

The government must also know that such deeply unethical proposals, which fly in the face of Jewish values, cannot be in our community’s name. It is disturbing that these plans have been announced shortly before we celebrate Passover, a festival where we recall our journey to safety from Egypt. As we prepare to read the story of Exodus, it is deeply unsettling that the government is seeking to deprive the opportunity of freedom to those fleeing modern day tyrants.

If the government is serious about preventing small boat crossings, it must instead urgently act to introduce safe and accessible routes to sanctuary in the UK. The offshore internment of Jewish refugees in the Second World War was a grave error: the government should learn from this historic mistake, uphold international refugee law and ensure all those seeking safety in the UK are treated with dignity and respect.”

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