Anti-Slavery Campaigner Returns OBE in Protest of UK's Rwanda Asylum Policy

Anti-slavery campaigner returns OBE in protest over UK's refusal to exempt modern slavery victims from Rwanda asylum scheme, highlighting potential human rights implications.

Muhammad Jawad
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Anti-Slavery Campaigner Returns OBE in Protest of UK's Rwanda Asylum Policy

Anti-Slavery Campaigner Returns OBE in Protest of UK's Rwanda Asylum Policy

Dr Aidan McQuade, a prominent anti-slavery campaigner from Northern Ireland, has returned his honorary OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in protest against the UK government's refusal to exempt modern slavery victims from the controversial Rwanda asylum scheme. McQuade, who received the honorary OBE in 2017 for his work combating modern slavery, expressed his strong disagreement with the government's policy in a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

In the letter, Dr McQuade criticized the government's decision, stating that it "sends to the whole world a message that the UK rejects the core bases of human rights and rule of law." He argued that the move "can only impede the anti-slavery struggle and embolden other governments who seek to systematically abuse the rights of their subjects and citizens, including by the facilitation of their enslavement."

The Rwanda asylum scheme, which has faced widespread criticism from human rights organizations, aims to relocate asylum seekers arriving in the UK to Rwanda for processing and potential settlement. Dr McQuade's protest specifically highlights the government's unwillingness to exempt victims of modern slavery from this policy, despite their vulnerable status and the trauma they have endured.

Why this matters: Dr McQuade's protest sheds light on the potential human rights implications of the UK's Rwanda asylum policy, particularly for vulnerable groups such as modern slavery victims. The government's stance on this issue has drawn criticism from anti-slavery advocates who argue that it undermines the UK's commitment to combating modern slavery and protecting the rights of victims.

In returning his honorary OBE by post, Dr McQuade stated that he can no longer, in good conscience, keep the honor given the government's stance on modern slavery victims in the context of the Rwanda asylum scheme. His protest adds to the growing voices of concern over the potential impact of this policy on human rights and the UK's international reputation in the fight against modern slavery.

Key Takeaways

  • Dr Aidan McQuade returned his OBE in protest of UK's Rwanda asylum policy
  • Policy fails to exempt modern slavery victims, undermining human rights, he says
  • Rwanda scheme aims to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing
  • McQuade's protest highlights potential human rights impact of the policy
  • His action adds to growing criticism over the policy's effect on modern slavery