'Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have done all they can to deny refugees rights'

File photo dated 20/11/21 of a group of people thought to be migrants being brought in to Dungeness,

A group of people, thought to be migrants, being escorted to shore by a local lifeboat in Kent. - Credit: PA

The government has announced plans to, once again, scapegoat refugees.

The English Channel will come under the operational control of the Royal Navy and some asylum seekers will be flown to Rwanda to have their applications processed at an estimated cost of £120million – some sources say the cost will be much higher.

Last year at the UN the UK raised concerns about human rights in Rwanda.

Boris Johnson claims he wants to end the misery of people smuggling and the tragic deaths of those crossing from France in overloaded dinghies. There is a simpler and more effective solution to this question – allow safe and legal routes for asylum seekers to enter the UK. He could start by scrapping the Nationalities and Borders Bill currently before parliament.

Vivek Lehal, Haringey Stand-Up to Racism (HSTUR)

Vivek Lehal wants safe and legal routes for asylum seekers to enter the UK - Credit: Vivek Lehal

Johnson’s concern for the safety of refugees is a sham. He and home secretary Priti Patel have done all they can to deny refugees rights under the UN convention. They are complicit in the harassment of refugees living in appalling conditions across Northern France. Asylum seekers have been housed in substandard accommodation where Covid-19 has been able to spread unchecked. They have resumed the practice of deportation flights, with echoes of the Windrush scandal.

Despite expressing concerns for the plight of Ukrainian refugees, the Home Office has only issued 2,700 visas to those fleeing the war.

Johnson’s government, like its predecessors under May and Cameron, have used the issue of asylum to deflect from their own failures to tackle the economic and social ills that many of us have to contend with.

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So, at a time when the government is under fire over "party gate", tax dodging and the cost of living crisis, it is no surprise that they reach for the race card.

Stand Up To Racism will continue to oppose the government’s racist offensive. We will defend the rights of asylum seekers, wherever they are from.

Join us, standuptoracism.org.uk

Vivek Lehal is secretary of Haringey Stand Up To Racism.