Amendment 22

Part of Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - Report (1st Day) – in the House of Lords am 8:30 pm ar 4 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of The Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich The Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Bishop 8:30, 4 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, I support Amendment 42 tabled by the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss. My right reverend friend the Bishop of Bristol regrets that she cannot be in her place today to speak in support of this amendment, which she has signed.

The question of deterrence is central to the Government’s premise in the Bill. The threat of being removed to Rwanda should, in theory, be sufficient to discourage asylum seekers from taking dangerous crossings in small boats across the channel. Even if we accept that this will work for individuals trafficked to the UK against their will—I have not seen evidence that suggests it will—how can the Bill possibly have a deterrent effect? This point was made repeatedly in Committee, but it has not been adequately addressed.

There are as many as 4,000 people in the national referral mechanism who could potentially be eligible for removal. Can we not give them assurance that we will not subject them to further upheaval? The Global Slavery Index estimates that the rate of modern slavery in Rwanda is more than twice as high as the rate in the UK. Can we be sure that victims will be safe from the risk of re-trafficking?‘

The provisions of the Bill are incompatible with protective obligations, but potential victims will not even be able to put this injustice to the courts under the Rwanda treaty. Not identifying victims or sending them to another country before their claim has been properly assessed will also set us back in our efforts to bring perpetrators of modern slavery to justice. Victims are often the only witnesses of this crime; without them, the case against perpetrators will be significantly harder to make. Safeguarding victims of modern slavery from removal to Rwanda will have a negligible impact on the supposed deterrent effect of the Bill, and every effect on the safety and flourishing of the victims of modern slavery.