Two people detained in Scotland in connection with UK Government's 'inhumane' Rwanda policy

Two people in Scotland have been detained in connection with the UK Government's "inhumane" policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, the Social Justice Secretary said.

Shirley-Anne Somerville has written to Home Secretary James Cleverly about the issue, as she again urged the Conservative Government at Westminster to end the "morally repugnant" scheme.

The UK Government argues that its proposal to send some asylum seekers who arrive in the UK to the African nation will help reduce the number of immigrants seeking to cross the English Channel on small boats.

Ms Somerville said on Friday, May 17, that it was "now clear that two people in Scotland have been detained as part of the UK Government's inhumane policy to send people to Rwanda".

Posting on X, she said the Scottish Government had made clear its opposition to the Rwanda policy "right from the start".

She added she had written to Mr Cleverly to "to seek clarification on how many people have been detained for removal to Rwanda" as she again called on him to "end such detentions in Scotland".

Criticising the initiative, the Scottish Social Justice Secretary said: "This callous scheme rides roughshod over UK obligations under international law and it is also morally repugnant."

In her letter to the Home Secretary, Ms Somerville accepted that immigration, along with enforcement of this, was an area reserved for the UK Government.

However, she said the actions of the Home Office were "not in line with the values of the people of Scotland" accusing the UK Government department of "targeting vulnerable individuals seeking refuge".

Ms Somerville insisted such actions were "not about safeguarding our communities" saying that, instead, they were "causing anxiety and distress" to communities.

She added: "The Scottish Government is not convinced that the plan to relocate people to Rwanda will have the deterrent effect sought by UK Government ministers and it does further damage to the UK's reputation by undermining international protection."

With Rishi Sunak having made a key pledge to crack down on small boat crossings, Mr Cleverly said he and the Prime Minister were determined to deliver the Rwanda scheme.

The Home Secretary told the PA news agency that Rwanda "is a safe and welcoming country" as he stressed the importance of action to deter people smugglers.

Mr Cleverly said: "People are dying in the channel. People are being abused by people smugglers. The Rwanda scheme is part of a deterrent, which is about saving lives and breaking the business model of criminal gangs. That's why the Prime Minister, myself and the whole of Government are so determined to deliver on it."

A Home Office spokesman said: "It is longstanding policy that immigration enforcement and detention is a reserved matter.

"Detentions for those in line for removal are continuing, and we are working at pace to get flights to Rwanda off the ground in July."

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