Home Secretary Tom Pursglove complained that there were “appalling stereotypes” about Rwanda – so Sky News immediately read his own government’s travel advice
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A Tory behind Rwanda flights was confronted with his own government’s warnings about the country in a car crash interview.
Tom Pursglove complained that appalling stereotypes had been spread about the East African country after Boris Johnson announced Britain’s unwanted asylum seekers would be forcibly flown there.
But the Home Office minister was alerted to his claim by a Sky News presenter reading out advice from the Foreign Office.
The advice read: “Homosexuality is not illegal in Rwanda, but is frowned upon by many.
“LGBT people can experience discrimination and abuse, including from local authorities. There are no specific anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT people.”
TV presenter Niall Paterson fumed: “That’s the advice gay people in this country get from the Foreign Office – just around the corner from you!”
It is understood that LGBT+ people, women and refugees from Rwanda could be sent to Rwanda even under Boris Johnson’s policies.
More than 200 people from Rwanda itself have applied for asylum in the UK over the past decade, Home Office figures show.
And EU-wide, 255 Rwandans applied for asylum in 2020 alone – making the country one of the top 20.
In a later interview, Mr Pursglove was also unable to name Rwanda’s population or life expectancy, saying: “I’m afraid I don’t have that number on hand this morning.” Nor could he say how much it was after a ” Initial Fund’ of £120m per person.
Mr Pursglove, standing outside the Home Office, insisted that “Rwanda has made tremendous progress”.
Despite the 1994 genocide that slaughtered 800,000 people in 100 days, he said, “They have a rich and proud history, much like we do in this country, of providing shelter to people who need it.”
He added: “Rwanda … has a female-majority parliament, it has an anti-discrimination law running right through its constitution.
“UNHCR itself hosts refugees as part of its programs in Rwanda, which of course gives them sanctuary.”
However, it has emerged that Boris Johnson’s government condemned the human rights record in Rwanda less than a year ago.
The United Kingdom’s International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, said in a speech uploaded to the government’s own website: “We regret that Rwanda has not supported our recommendation … transparent, credible and independent investigations into allegations of human rights abuses, including deaths, imprisonment and torture.”
She said Britain welcomed Rwanda’s “progress” and “engagement” but issued a warning about people in “transit hubs”.
Asylum seekers who are deported from the UK to Rwanda are housed in homes for up to three months.
“We were disappointed that Rwanda did not support the UK’s recommendation to screen, identify and assist victims of human trafficking, including those held in government transit centres,” she said.
A former cabinet minister warned today that Tory plans to send canal boat migrants to Rwanda would provoke violent confrontations at airports as they prepare to board military flights.
Former International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell feared asylum seekers would violently resist attempts to put them on planes bound for Britain to East Africa.
“It will be very difficult to transport them because we know people will fight to stop getting on planes,” he told the BBC.
“It’s extremely difficult to get on a plane people who are desperate and don’t want to get on a plane.”
He said RAF planes were needed – to put pressure on the stretched Luftwaffe.
“You can’t use civilian flights, you have to use military planes – our military planes are needed for other purposes.” He also said the cost would be “astronomical” and “tearful”.
Anyone the Home Office deems “ineligible” to seek asylum in the UK can now be forcibly returned to Rwanda under a five-year deal starting yesterday. You have no way of applying for asylum in the UK.
People who have transited a ‘safe’ country may be considered unacceptable under new rules enforced by the Tories after Brexit.
Policy Chief No. 10 Andrew Griffith said last night he hoped the flights would be operational in “weeks or a few months”.
However, Boris Johnson admitted the scheme could be held up by legal challenges.
One expert has expressed fears entire families may attempt to cross the Channel to thwart Boris Johnson’s attempt to target single men under 40.
Charlie Yaxley, former spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the Mediterranean Crisis, told Der Spiegel: “Whenever you close one door, the refugees open a window elsewhere.
“After the war in Libya, there were still families who brought their babies and the whole family on board boats in the Mediterranean. Whether that would happen now in Calais – it is possible.”
Mr Yaxley added: “The reason they send single young men is so that the family can be reunited afterwards under the family reunification scheme that the government is trying to dilute.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-minister-skewered-over-governments-26718621 The Tory minister speared his OWN government's Rwanda warnings in a car crash interview