The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

No moralising, top Rwandan diplomat tells Archbishop

- By Charles Hymas

RWANDA’S high commission­er to the UK has accused the Archbishop of Canterbury of moralising and being narrow-minded after he criticised the Government’s plan to deport migrants.

Johnston Busingye said the scheme deserved support, as it was an answer to the “broken” asylum system that was failing refugees, rather than the “moralising and dithering” of its critics.

He was speaking after The Most Rev Justin Welby described proposed legislatio­n to detain illegal migrants and send them to safe countries, such as Rwanda, as “morally unacceptab­le” and “politicall­y impractica­l” during the second reading of the Government’s illegal migration bill in the House of Lords,

In an article for the website Comment Central, Mr Busingye said he agreed with the Archbishop’s call for reform of the current system, the need for long-term, global solutions and the failure to “take a long-term and strategic view of the challenges of migration.” He added that criticism of the Rwanda scheme was riddled with contradict­ions because it would address the very problems identified by the Archbishop.

“It seems to me that criticisms of the partnershi­p as a narrow-minded approach to the migration crisis are themselves based on incomplete, narrow-minded perspectiv­es of Rwanda’s partnershi­p with the UK,” said Mr Busingye. “In reality, our partnershi­p is specifical­ly focused on overhaulin­g an outdated, broken internatio­nal system, and contributi­ng to long-term global solutions to this global crisis.”

Mr Busingye insisted Rwanda was a “safe” for refugees, and had given 140,000 of them access to public services, full legal rights and a chance to rebuild their lives. “In times of crisis, focus must be on action … rather than moralising and dithering,” he added.

A Church of England spokesman said: “The Archbishop has been careful at all times to note that his criticism is not [of] Rwanda (a country he knows well) or its treatment of refugees, but with the wider points of principle and practicali­ty that underpin the Government’s approach.”

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