The British asylum plan defended by the Rwandan Anglican archbishop
By The Bharat Express News -June 18, 2022015
The Anglican Archbishop of Rwanda says he disagrees with senior Church of England leaders over the UK’s asylum plan.
Earlier this week they said the policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda “puts Britain to shame”.
But Bishop Laurent Mbanda said it was not immoral and that Rwanda was ready to welcome those in need of accommodation.
He said many Rwandans had lived in exile because of the genocide in the 1990s, so they understood the problems faced by people fleeing their homes.
Under the terms of the five-year deal, Rwanda becomes responsible for asylum seekers who have made it to the UK. They will be housed and supported while their application is processed – and if they are granted permanent refugee status, they will remain in Rwanda.
So far no one has been sent to Rwanda from the UK. A flight that was to take asylum seekers was canceled before takeoff, following a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Anglican churches in Africa have an increasingly strained relationship with their parent church over biblical interpretations of issues like same-sex marriage.
Bishop Mbanda says he believes that with the colonial era over, African churches must think and speak for themselves.
The Church of England, says the cleric, is led by one among equals, and that it is time for African churches to challenge their mother church, without waiting for the Archbishop of Canterbury to tell them what to do.
During his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, the Very Reverend Justin Welby suggested the UK’s asylum plan was “ungodly”.
This was followed by a joint letter signed by the UK’s Anglican bishops, which said the country could not outsource its ethical responsibilities.
It was published in Britain’s Times newspaper on Tuesday – the day the first flight to Rwanda was cancelled.
The bishops said those who were to be deported to Rwanda had no chance of appealing or reuniting with their families in the UK. But Bishop Mbanda says accepting asylum seekers in Rwanda will help alleviate a global crisis and the whole issue of migration and homelessness.
He said it was not one person’s burden but a burden that countries should share. Having spent most of his life as a refugee before returning to live in Rwanda, the Archbishop says he knows what it is to be homeless.
The asylum plan has also been privately criticized by Prince Charles, according to reports last week in The Times and Daily Mail.The heir to the British throne is due to travel to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, next week for a major Commonwealth gathering.
Ahead of the meeting, Amnesty International urged Commonwealth leaders to remind the UK of its international responsibility under the Refugee Convention.“Commonwealth leaders must take a firm and clear stand to force the UK government to reverse its wrongful, cruel and racist policy which shifts responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda,” the advocacy group said. rights.
Additional reporting by TBEN religious journalist Alex Strangwayes-Booth