THE Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has urged the country’s MPs to reject the Rwanda Bill.

The Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, in a letter to all 59 Scottish representatives at Westminster, hit out at the Bill, which would declare Rwanda a safe country for asylum seekers to be sent to – despite an earlier ruling by the Supreme Court.

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill will be debated in Westminster this week.

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In her letter, Foster-Fulton said the Kirk is “appalled” that the UK Government has sought to change the law rather than “addressing the material concerns raised”.

“We have built a reputation as a world leader when it comes to upholding and championing human rights,” she wrote.

“This Bill threatens to destroy that reputation, reducing our ability to speak with any credibility on injustices and human rights abuses across the world.

“It also sets a worrying precedent that fundamental human rights can be eroded and denied to some.”

The National: LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18: People gather to protest the Governments 'Rwanda Bill' and the treatment of migrants arriving in the UK, outside the Home Office, on December 18, 2023 in London, England. The charity organized the protest outside

People in churches across Scotland have expressed “fear and anxiety”, she said, that they will be deported to Rwanda, leaving them in a “place of uncertainty”.

Comparing the plight of modern refugees to that of Jesus Christ, the Moderator said: “Our faith compels us to advocate for a fair and just system that shows respect to all of God’s children, regardless of where they were born or what their immigration status is.”

She added: “We urge you to resist this Bill and any amendments that will further restrict the rights of asylum seekers.

“This legislation will only lead to more detentions, more deportations, and an ongoing environment of hostility and mistrust.

“Let us instead direct our focus on solutions that support refugees and asylum seekers many of whom are fleeing persecution and war in countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Ethiopia.

“They are entitled to seek a place of safety and the Church, in common with many charities, is already working closely with people who have fled desperate situations.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We have worked closely with the Rwandan government to address the Supreme Court’s findings directly with the new Rwanda Treaty binding in international law, and have also introduced the Safety of Rwanda Bill.

“Rwanda has a strong history of providing protection to those that need it, hosting over 135,000 asylum seekers who have found sanctuary there.

“It is a safe country that cares deeply about supporting refugees, and our Safety of Rwanda Bill will make this absolutely clear in UK law.”

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said the Moderator was “right to warn MPs that this legislation will create an environment of hostility and mistrust”.

Conservative MPs should be ashamed of the willingness with which their Government whips up anti-immigrant fervour,” he added.

“It seems like they learned nothing from the story of the Good Samaritan.

“The Conservative Party’s gimmick policy does nothing to bring down the sky-high asylum case backlog and it’s thoroughly immoral to boot.”

The SNP’s home affairs spokeswoman, Alison Thewliss, said: “The UK Government’s Rwanda Bill is deeply callous and immoral and will not be passed in Scotland’s name.

“The Home Secretary’s own briefings notes state that Rwanda has ‘issues with its human rights record’ and it has recently granted asylum to Rwandan refugees.

“They know this Bill will not work and therefore must scrap it without delay.

“In direct contrast to the UK Home Office, the Scottish Government is committed to creating an immigration system which is centred around fairness and dignity and prioritises safe and legal routes for refugees fleeing war and persecution.

“The SNP will continue to call out the UK Government’s inhumane and morally bankrupt immigration policies at every possible opportunity. It does not reflect our values, and will not be passed in Scotland’s name.”