United Kingdom-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 21 December 2023.

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Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the potential impact that the United Kingdom-Rwanda migration and economic development partnership may have on its new Scots integration strategy. (S6O-02911)

Photo of Emma Roddick Emma Roddick Scottish National Party

We have of course opposed the UK Government’s repugnant plans to relocate people to third countries since the memorandum of understanding with Rwanda was announced in April 2022. Legislation that breaks our moral and international obligations further damages the UK’s international reputation.

The Scottish ministers continue to challenge the UK Government on the issue, but we are committed to working with our partners at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Scottish Refugee Council on refreshing the new Scots refugee strategy, partly to ensure that it helps to mitigate—where it can—the effects of the UK Government’s damaging actions.

Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, which the Tories are passing at Westminster, is an extremely dangerous piece of legislation. It is needless, dehumanising and legally unsound. What communication has the minister had with her UK Government counterparts to underline how strongly the people of Scotland reject that appalling bill?

Photo of Emma Roddick Emma Roddick Scottish National Party

We have been clear and consistent in our strong opposition to the policy since it was announced, and we will continue to raise with UK ministers significant concerns about this cruel, ineffective and expensive policy and to reiterate our opposition in the light of the bill. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has stated that it does not consider the UK-Rwanda migration and economic development partnership to comply with the UK’s international obligations. The UK Government must explain how it will ensure the welfare of extremely vulnerable people in any arrangement to transfer or relocate people who are seeking asylum and must be transparent about how much that is costing.