Priti Patel has insisted that Rwanda is a “safe” country, despite warnings from Foreign Ministry officials about torture and killings.
The latest defense from the home secretary comes after court documents revealed that Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) officials had concerns about the plan to send illegal migrants to the central African country.
Politics Hub: Conservative members believe the party was wrong to get rid of Johnson
An anonymous FCDO worker said that torture and “even murder” are accepted in Rwanda. The UK High Commissioner for Rwanda in 2021 warned that the country “He has been accused of recruiting refugees to carry out armed operations in neighboring countries.”
But Mrs Patel said: “Well, actually, Rwanda is a safe country.”
“All of our work has shown that and government-to-government work has shown that as well,” he added.
“Of course he is referring to comments made by officials from a different government department, but of course it is the Home Office that has led the Migration Association for Economic Development, which is our resettlement association in Rwanda. .
“Rwanda is a safe country and all of our work with the Rwandan government shows that.”
No one has yet been sent to Rwanda, after the first flight to the country was stopped at 11 o’clock due to legal challenges.
Charities and asylum seekers are currently involved in legal action with the UK government over the scheme.
On Wednesday, Lord Justice Lewis ruled that four excerpts from the FCDO’s advice to the Home Office on the plan could be withheld from the public, as well as some words in other parts of the document.
The government had been trying to keep 10 passages completely secret.
A full hearing is scheduled for next month on whether or not the plan is legal.
People trafficker says ‘I don’t force anyone to get on the boats’
‘I’ll kill myself’ before they send me to Rwanda, says Channel migrant
When asked which of Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak would be best placed to implement Rwanda policy, Ms. Patel declined to endorse either candidate.
She said: “Well, it is government policy to hand over the resettlement plan to Rwanda. So this is not about any particular candidate, this is the government’s job.”
“It is set in stone through the new plan for immigration, which was published in March of last year.”
Both Mr Sunak and Mrs Truss have endorsed the Rwanda policy as part of their campaigns to become the next Tory leader.