26 April 2022. BETHANY RIELLY
FEMALE refugees from Africa condemned Home Secretary Priti Patel’s Rwanda deal as modern-day slavery today during a protest against the Nationality & Borders Bill.
Members of the All African Women’s Group (AAWG) of asylum-seekers warned that the lives of people sent to the East African country under the scheme would be at risk.
“It takes brutes like Boris Johnson and Priti Patel to propose sending asylum-seekers to Rwanda to suffer and die away from any public scrutiny,” said AAWG member Celine Gana, a mother and rape survivor from Uganda.
“As African women, we know that the genocide in Rwanda has left an indelible mark which people are still trying to deal with.
“The current president is responsible for disappearances and murder of his opponents. We won’t be safe if we are sent there and the UK government knows that.”
About 100 people attended the rally outside the House of Lords, which heard calls for peers to “stand firm” in their opposition to the legislation when voting on it later in the day.
Green peer Jenny Jones visited the protest and that said the members of the Lords were determined to keep up the fight against the Bill.
MPs and peers have been unable to reach agreement on the highly contentious legislation, which would criminalise refugees who enter Britain by irregular routes and create a two-tier asylum system.
Ms Gana added that measures denying such people the right to family reunion and benefits would hit women and children the hardest.
“Without the right to family reunion, mums and children will suffer the unbearable pain of indefinite separation,” she said.
The Rwanda plan is separate from the Nationality & Borders Bill, but both are seen as part of the government’s anti-refugee agenda.
Protesters held up banners reading “Rwanda plan = modern-day slavery” and “We are not commodities to be traded.”