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Rwanda deportations disproportionately have ‘greater impact on Muslims’, UK admits

27th May 2022
Rwanda deportations disproportionately have ‘greater impact on Muslims’, UK admits

Hamed Chapman

In newly released documents, the British Government admits that its highly controversial Rwanda deportation policy will have a “greater impact” on Muslims than those of other faiths, but argues that it is “legitimate” due to other priorities.

“Individuals making a clandestine journey to the UK are more likely to be of the Muslim faith compared to other routes. Therefore, the policy may indirectly have a greater impact on those of Muslim faith,” the

Home Office reported after carrying out an Equality Impact Assessment.
“However, we consider that any disadvantage is justified on the basis that it is a proportionate means of achieving the policy’s legitimate aim to deter individuals from making such perilous journeys,” it argued about the plan that has already been described as “evil” and “inhumane” by refugee charities.

A similar claim was also made to vindicate the likely disproportionate impact there would be on “certain races and nationalities,” citing as an example that arrivals by small boats from five Muslim countries; Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan accounted for three-quarters of the numbers between January 2018 and April 2021.

“There may be some perception of unfairness between those who are assessed to be suitable for relocation and those who are not. However, these decisions would be based on an individual assessment of each case, based on detailed knowledge of conditions in Rwanda and information known and provided.”

“Suitability for relocation will be kept under constant review. However, we are keen not to divulge the exact criteria. The purpose of the policy is to stop the dangerous journeys by which those seeking asylum come to the UK without permission,” it said.

The assessment pointed out that if an individual is eligible under the policy, then they may be relocated to Rwanda, where it said the majority of the population is Christian, as are the majority of refugees who come from neighbouring countries.

“However, Article 31 of the Constitution of Rwanda prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion and guarantees freedom of worship,” it argued, saying that there were mosques in the country, mainly in the capital city of Kigali, but that it was with the authorities there “to ensure that places of worship are available near to the intended accommodation centres for relocated persons.”

Regarding the expected separate risk to the treatment of some LGBTQ+ people, the Home Office said the “sexual orientation of individuals will be taken into account in any relocation decision” on a case-by-case basis by putting monitoring arrangements in place.

The new policy has been widely condemned by high profile figures, including the UNHCR, which said it was “unacceptable”, and a breach of international law, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who described the plan as “ungodly”.

Photo: UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Vincent Biruta, sign the Migration and Economic Development Partnership.

(Credit: UK Home Office/Flickr)

Editorial: Ending interference in Muslim countries may ease UK’s refugee crises

 

 

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

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