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UK: Deportation of Asylum seekers to Rwanda

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Applications of Ethics


Source: The Guardian


Context: The UK Parliament passed a bill allowing asylum seekers arriving irregularly to be deported to Rwanda, a move spearheaded by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to curb Channel crossings. Despite opposition, the bill cleared both houses and is set to become law. It will apply to anyone who arrives in the UK without prior permission, even if their aim is to claim asylum on legitimate grounds


However, critics, argue that it’s cruel and ineffective.

Ethical issues include:

  1. Questions about the safety and well-being of individuals being sent to Rwanda
  2. The fairness of the deportation process
  3. The potential for exploitation or harm of vulnerable populations
  4. By overriding laws preventing deportation and compelling courts to treat Rwanda as a “safe country,” there’s a clear violation of the rule of law.
  5. Rwanda’s human rights record, marred by allegations of ill-treatment of dissidents, journalists, and refugees, raises serious doubts about the ethical implications of such a decision.
  6. Sending refugees to a country where they may face persecution violates the core principle of non-refoulment in international refugee law, as outlined in the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol.


Thinkers’ Views:

Ethical Thinker View on Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Mahatma Gandhi Advocated for compassion and support towards asylum seekers and refugees, emphasizing the principles of nonviolence and empathy.
Rabindranath Tagore Emphasized the importance of hospitality and universal brotherhood, promoting acceptance and integration of refugees into society.
Swami Vivekananda Would likely advocate for providing refuge to those in need, viewing it as a moral duty and an expression of humanitarianism.
Nelson Mandela Emphasized the importance of solidarity and support for refugees, drawing from his own experience of fighting against discrimination and injustice.
Aung San Suu Kyi Advocated for the protection of refugees’ rights and the promotion of democracy and human rights as essential for ensuring their well-being and dignity.


India’s stance on refugees:

India is not a party to the Refugee Convention, as it hasn’t ratified either the 1951 Convention or its 1967 Protocol, and India lacks a national refugee protection framework. Nonetheless, India extends asylum to numerous refugees from neighbouring states and adheres to UNHCR’s guidelines for other nationals, particularly from Afghanistan and Myanmar. For asylum-seekers from non-neighbouring countries, India conducts Refugee Status Determination (RSD) before granting asylum