Bishops blame ministers for creating 'boom market' for small boats migrant traffickers

1 July 2023, 18:03 | Updated: 1 July 2023, 18:05

Justin Welby has previously said the government's Rwanda plan 'does not stand the judgment of God'
Justin Welby has previously said the government's Rwanda plan 'does not stand the judgment of God'. Picture: Getty

By Adam Solomons

Church of England bishops have blamed the government for the small boats crisis, claiming ministers are creating 'perverse incentives' for criminal traffickers.

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In a briefing paper for MPs seen by the Mail on Sunday, the Church's Mission and Public Affairs Council wrote that the government's pledge to stop the boats fails to recognise "human dignity".

The bishops added in a submission to the House of Commons' Home Affairs committee: "The increasing securitisation makes the routes by sea riskier, and the profits for traffickers correspondingly higher.

"Far from creating deterrence, the UK’s approach is creating a boom market for criminal enterprises."

The Church of England's latest intervention comes days after the government's Rwanda plan was ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal.

Read more: Stop the boats? How Andrew Marr would tackle the migrant crisis

Read more: Rwanda plan will be 'money well spent' if it 'makes it less attractive' for migrants crossing the Channel, minister says

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is pictured during a visit to Rwanda in March
Home Secretary Suella Braverman is pictured during a visit to Rwanda in March. Picture: Getty

Senior judges ruled that Rwanda is not a 'safe country' to receive asylum seekers from the UK.

The nation has been criticised for its human rights record, which include crackdowns on the government's political opponents, so-called "enforced disappearances" and members of the LGBT community.

The House of Lords is currently considering Rishi Sunak's Illegal Migration Bill, which states that all migrants arriving by "irregular means" can be forcibly removed to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed.

If successful, asylum seekers will be offered permanent residency in the central African country, with no option to return to the UK.

Labour will discard Tory Rwanda deportation plan says Shadow Trade Secretary

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said the Rwanda plan is 'ungodly'.

In his Easter address last year, the Church's most senior clergyman said: "Let Christ prevail. Let the darkness of war be banished.

"And this season is also why there are such serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas.

"The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgment of God, and it cannot."

Rwanda is not 'free or safe country' for refugees says Chair of United Democratic Forces of Rwanda

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