Ex-UK military chiefs want Afghans who served in British forces exempted from Rwanda asylum scheme #rwanda #RwOT


According to The Telegraph, the list of 13 military top brass includes three former Chiefs of the Defence Staff as well as a former Chief of the General Staff and a former Chief of the Naval Staff.

In a letter quoted by the British publication, the group sent a strong warning to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, saying deporting Afghans who fought alongside the British army would be a 'dereliction of our moral duty'.

'Any brave men and women who have fought alongside our armed forces or served the UK Government overseas must be exempt from removal to Rwanda,' the letter signed by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Craig of Radley, Gen Lord Richards of Herstmonceux and Gen Lord Houghton of Richmondâ€"all former Chiefs of the Defence Staffâ€"was quoted as saying.

The group further accused the government of mismanaging the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy â€" known as the ARAP scheme â€" which was launched in April 2021.

The scheme was established to help current or former Afghan staff who were employed by the UK government in Afghanistan.

The military chief's warning comes amid reports that Afghan soldiers have been subjected to torture and murder by the Taliban after being denied help by the UK Government, despite extensive evidence showing they were paid, trained, and worked "shoulder to shoulder" with British special forces.

The military top brass argue that the Arap scheme was 'intended to be a lifeline for brave Afghans who worked alongside UK forces but there is a huge backlog of applications'.

'It is essential that those who have made it to British shores are not unduly punished by being removed to Rwanda when the Government's scheme is up and running,' the group is further quoted.
The sentiments come at a time Sunak's Safety of Rwanda Bill, which proposes the relocation of certain asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda for processing their claims, returns to the Commons on Monday after a series of defeats in the Lords.

Rwanda and the UK signed the Migration and Economic Development Partnership in April 2022.

Officials said the migrants caught trying to enter UK territory illegally by boat or hiding in vehicles would be sent to Rwanda.

The scheme faced headwinds last November after the UK Supreme Court ruled that it was unlawful.

This forced the government to amend the legislation, including a new treaty and stating in law that Rwanda is a safe country.

MPs are expected to vote on those amendments when they return to parliament.

This week, Sunak, while expressing his confidence that the scheme would succeed, faulted the Labour Party for the delays in the implementation of the programme.

"First of all we need to get it through parliament, where the Labour Party has been blocking it for a long time.

"Once it is up and running I am confident we will be able to operationalise the scheme [and] get people on flights because that's how we set up a deterrent and ultimately end the unfairness of people jumping the queue, coming here illegally, putting pressure on local services and risking their own lives,' he stated in response to a question from the reporters seeking to know when the first flight would depart to Rwanda.

In March 2024, UK authorities announced that the government would offer failed asylum seekers up to £3,000 (Rwf4,866,727) to move to Rwanda under the new voluntary scheme.

Wycliffe Nyamasege

Source : https://en.igihe.com/politics-48/article/ex-uk-military-chiefs-want-afghans-who-served-in-british-forces-exempted-from

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