Emergency motion

As passed by conference

Submitted by: 11 members
Mover: Max Wilkinson.
Summation: Danny Chambers.

Conference notes with grave concern the Conservative Government's latest efforts to push through their failing Rwanda scheme amid general chaos in the Home Office - including their controversial Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill which has passed through the House of Commons in January and February and is now in the House of Lords, the sacking of David Neal as Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration in February, and near-constant political infighting.

Conference further notes that:

  1. Under this policy, refugees removed to Rwanda will not be eligible to return to the UK, even if their asylum claims are successful.
  2. The Supreme Court has already ruled that the scheme is illegal due to serious deficiencies in the Rwandan asylum system.
  3. More than 241 million has already been spent on the scheme, despite no flights taking off - equivalent to the cost of delivering more than 5.7 million GP appointments.
  4. The Home Office's own figures show that it will cost 69,000 more to send each asylum seeker to Rwanda, compared to if they remained in the UK.
  5. The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill has been described by some lawyers as "legislating for a lie", declaring Rwanda as a safe third country - despite the Supreme Court upholding that it is not and Conservative ministers own admissions it currently is not.
  6. A similar Israeli program of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda resulted in most of them being smuggled out of Rwanda in the hands of criminal gangs.

Conference believes that the Government's Rwanda policy:

  1. Has been an extraordinary waste of time and money.
  2. Is immoral, ineffective and incredibly expensive for the taxpayer.
  3. Will do nothing to stop dangerous Channel crossings or combat people smuggling and human trafficking.
  4. Fails to address the backlog of asylum applications that has ballooned under this Conservative Government.
  5. Betrays the UK's proud tradition of providing sanctuary to refugees fleeing war and persecution, and breaches our international law commitments.

Conference further believes that the best way to stop these dangerous crossings and tackle people smuggling is to provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees.

Conference therefore calls on the UK Government to:

  1. Abandon the Rwanda scheme and related legislation with immediate effect.
  2. Reaffirm its commitment to upholding important human rights legislation, including the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Refugee Convention and the Human Rights Act.
  3. Fix the broken asylum system by establishing a new, dedicated unit to make decisions quickly and fairly.
  4. Provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees from all countries, as outlined in policy motion Safe and Legal Routes to Save Lives.
  5. Manage the costs of the asylum system by giving asylum seekers the right to work and introducing a service standard of three months for all but the most complex claims to be processed.

Applicability: Federal.

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