British Home Secretary Suella Braverman has come under heavy fire on social media for being insensitive, according to critics, during a visit to potential housing in Rwanda, which would house asylum seekers from the United Kingdom.
The British government has long been planning far-reaching plans to halt illegal migration to the United Kingdom across the Channel. In April last year, under Braverman’s predecessor Priti Patel, an agreement was negotiated with Rwanda to fly migrants who had illegally entered the United Kingdom to the East African country and house them there. However, this provoked enormous protests at home and abroad, resulting in various lawsuits, as a result of which the agreement was suspended pending the judgment on the merits.
Braverman visited the country on Saturday to defend the policy, which she described as “humanitarian” and “compassionate”, despite criticism from human rights groups and the United Nations.
In a photo that went viral in the UK, the minister can be seen laughing out loud in front of the housing construction site for asylum seekers who the United Kingdom would deport. “This is Suella Braverman at a centre where she hopes to deport victims of human trafficking and modern slavery,” one journalist tweeted.
Her comments during a tour of the buildings also shocked many: “These houses are really nice, good quality, really cosy, and I really like your interior designer. I need some advice myself,” she said during the tour. The minister was also criticized for turning down journalists from the BBC and The Guardian, a newspaper opposed to the government’s plan.
In Rwanda, Suella Braverman said it would be a “blessing” if deported asylum seekers were permanently resettled in that country instead of the UK. “I would encourage all my critics to visit Rwanda before spouting insinuations and incredibly biased and snobbish opinions about what this beautiful country has to offer,” she added, according to British media.