Glasgow Afghan United would like to condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of overseas detention for people seeking asylum in the UK.
To seek asylum is not a crime; it is a right under the UN Refugee Convention.
It is hard for us to put into words exactly what this news means for people like us; people who have no choice but to leave war or persecution in their countries, people to whom the UK has until now stood for safety, decency and respect.
We wish that no-one from Afghanistan or from any country would have to seek refuge outwith their country of origin. We wish that warlords, terrorists, dictators, miltias and persecutors of every order did not destroy lives and livelihoods of ordinary, decent people. We wish that every person – shopkeepers, surgeons, schoolchildren – would be safe in their homes and no-one had to fear drone strike, abduction, rape, torture, murder or other criminal and inhumane treatment. But this is not the case, and the UK Government knows this.
We urge the UK Government not to proceed with the offshoring of asylum seekers in Rwanda or any other country or territory outwith the United Kingdom’s own borders.
If the government chooses to proceed, the decision will tarnish the UK’s reputation on the global stage, will create fear within communities, will engineer needless suffering and will cost the taxpayer large amounts of unjustifiable spending.
There is no greater humanity than that which we can extend in welcome and friendship to those who, suffering through no fault of their own, require sanctuary.
We urge the UK Government to show that humanity – do not restrict it. Do not go down this path of offshore detention.