Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby slams plan to send migrants to Rwanda in his Easter sermon

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby strongly attacked in his Easter sermon on Sunday the highly controversial agreement between the government of Boris Johnson and Kigali to send asylum seekers who arrived illegally in the United Kingdom to Rwanda.

The deal announced on Thursday - which aims to deter dangerous Channel crossings, which are on the rise despite Brexit promises of better border controls - has come under heavy criticism, including from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The organization denounces an agreement "in contradiction with the responsibility of States to take care of those who need protection".

In his Easter sermon, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church Justin Welby believes that sending asylum seekers abroad poses "serious ethical questions".

"The details are for the politics and the politicians," but "the principle has to face God's judgment and it cannot," he said.

“He cannot bear the weight of the national responsibility of our country formed by Christian values, because outsourcing our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do good like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God himself who took responsibility for our failures,” Bishop Welby continued.

For its part, the Ministry of the Interior highlighted the "migration crisis of unprecedented scale" facing the world, with a spokesperson stressing the "changes needed to prevent despicable smugglers from killing of people in danger and to fix our broken asylum system".

As soon as the device was announced on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expected legal action from associations.

For Tahsin Tarek, a 25-year-old glazier from Erbil, capital of Kurdistan in Iraq, who is saving to finance a new trip to Europe, this announcement is a game-changer.

"I'm going to think about another country," the young man told AFP on Saturday, for whom "living here and enduring the difficulties here is better than living in Rwanda".

Following his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury called for peace in Ukraine. "Let this be the time for the Russian ceasefire, withdrawal and start of talks," he said.

"Let Christ prevail!" May the darkness of war be banished,” the Anglican Church representative continued.

In conclusion, Justin Welby spoke of the hope that accompanies Easter.

“Christ Jesus who was crucified was resurrected by God the Father in the power of the Spirit. The victory of good and love is guaranteed. The defeat of evil is assured. Injustice is defeated. The end of the old world has come. »

Camille Westphal Perrier (with AFP)

Image credit: Creative Commons / Wikimedia

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