'Turd that can't be polished': SNP MP's blistering Commons rant about Rwanda bill

And the minister asked why these particular pieces of legislation are are things that the government ought to have due regard for. Why would we want to have due regard for international law and various acts including the Children’s Act, the Human Rights Act and the Modern Slavery Act? Well, I think the reason why we want to have due regard for these things is the is found in the front piece of this bill which says ION and which says in the name of the Home Secretary. I am unable to make a statement. In my view, the provisions of the Safety of Rwanda Asylum and Immigration Bill are compatible with convention rights, but the government nevertheless wishes the House to proceed with the bill. The government is setting out to undermine our international obligations. So it’s quite right for the Lords to insist that we should abide by our international obligations. That’s the very least this government should be doing. And there are implications for children, for people who have been victims of slavery and trafficking, of people whose human rights are going to be abused. And the government should be paying far more due attention to this than it intends to do. Moving to Lord’s Amendment 3 E in the name of Lord Hope. I think there is significance in making sure that the monastery committee can do its job and do its job properly because it’s not clear, It’s not clear at all the circumstances in which Rwanda can to be cleared. Not safe. The monitoring committee is supposed to produce an annual report once a year, which then goes up the chain to the next committee joint committee. Well, there is no mechanism within that for them to blow the whistle should something happen. There is no mechanism for them to say suddenly something has happened here and Rwanda is no longer safe. What happens in that circumstance? What happens to those recommendations? How does that become activated? And what then happens to those people that are in transit that the UK hopes to send to Rwanda? There is no mechanism within this legislation that I can see within the treaty because there’s a three month delay within the treaty as well before anything can be annulled within the treaty that both parties need to agree with. So what happens should something untoward happen in Rwanda? And I referred to the the action of the the M23 rebels in my remarks earlier on in the week, which the minister didn’t refer to at all in his remarks. What happens if something goes awry? We don’t know. We are beholden to the the assertion of this government that Rwanda is safe in perpetuity. There is no mechanism to remove that perpetuity of Rwanda being safe. And I would highlight also the experience of the Irish journalist Sally Hayden, an author and journalist. She wrote the book My 4th Time We Drowned, and she has raised concerns about the mechanisms of scrutiny in Rwanda itself. She has raised concerns in the past about the treatment of refugees in Rwanda. She has visited the country on several occasions but she was denied entry last month as she went to cover the 30th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. And she believes, despite having to try to resolve this with the Rwandan authorities, she believes that the reason for her refusal of entry is precisely because she has criticised the Rwandan authorities and their treatment of refugees. Is that not something that should alarm all of us about the scrutiny of this bill both here and in Rwanda? And she has said, and I quote, proper scrutiny of the consequences of this policy are not possible because it is not a country with freedom of media and freedom of speech. That is something that we should be deeply concerned about, because without that independence and that scrutiny, we cannot be certain that what is happening is Rwanda. That’s what the government intends to happen in Rwanda, or indeed what the Rwandan government is telling us that they intend to happen in Rwanda. That freedom of press is crucial to that level of scrutiny outside of the supposedly independent monitoring committee. So I support this amendment. Furthermore, the Amendment 16 in the name of Barnes Trakovati. I support this amendment also because what this does is stand up for the rights of our own authorities here to make proper decisions. It empowers our decision makers, our courts, as they should be empowered to look at the evidence in front of them and to make proper decisions. What this government does is ask the judiciary, ask the immigration officers, ask tribunal everybody within the system to engage in a legal fantasy that they should ignore all evidence under front of them and believe that the government, when it says that Rolanda is safe in perpetuity. And I would remind it was reference to on Sea and here around Rifulmont that Rwanda engaged in the Rifulmont of several persons during the negotiation of the treaty, never mind at any other time they were doing this during the negotiation of the treaty. So again, we should be worried about that. Hear, hear Moving to clause 10D and the exemption for agents, allies and employees of the UK overseas. Now we had the urgent question earlier on on people from Afghanistan who are currently being heated out of Pakistan and the and the the Pakistan government apparently pleading that the using Rwanda as some kind of justification for this behaviour. Now this really indicates the ripple effect of what the government is doing here, that other countries are praying in aid of this legislation when they look to do things that we also have concerns about. And the UK, the UK. Earlier on I raised the point that we’ve been waiting for three years for the UK government to get their act together on Arab and Acrs. People should not still be waiting with uncertainty, with fear, with the prospect of being executed by the Taliban, should they be removed back to Afghanistan. This isn’t unacceptable, absolutely unacceptable and unjustifiable that the government has done so little in three years to protect Afghans who served alongside our forces in Afghanistan. So I think the very least that the government could do is approve this clause to say that those people that served with us deserve protection. The people that are coming on small boats because the government’s schemes have failed to protect them, that they should be exempt from being sent to Rwanda. The government is refusing to do so and I think that is absolutely despicable now. It was the best will in the world. These amendments are not enough, even if we passed them today. The Rwanda bill is a turd which cannot be polished. It is absolutely disgusting and objectionable in every sense. I would ask also, will the Labour Party repeal this because this bill will pass. But will the Labour Party make one of the first acts? Should they become the government to repeal this legislation or will they keep it on the statute books? Should they become the government after the election? I would like to have that on the record. I would also reiterate my concerns, my deep concerns that this is state sponsored people trafficking. Whichever way you cut it, you’re moving people without their will to a country without their consent, that is people trafficking and where they can’t find any commercial airline to take these people. It’s even more concerning that they are engaging an RAF contractor air tanker perhaps to to render these people to Rwanda against their will. It remains the position of the Scottish National Party, Madam Deputy Speaker, that we oppose this bill in every single sense that we can, and I will vote against it even in the in the reasons behind your chair, Madam Deputy Speaker, I will vote against at every opportunity, even because it is despicable and it does not stand in Scotland’s name.

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