BBC: The Archbishop of Wales has strongly condemned the UK government’s policy of flying asylum seekers to Rwanda, calling it immoral.
Up to seven people had been expected to be removed on Tuesday on a first flight, but it was cancelled after a last-minute legal battle.
“It lacks moral fibre”, The Most Rev Andrew John said.
The UK’s foreign secretary said it was important to deter people traffickers from trading in human misery.
Liz Truss had earlier said that she was sure that people would be on the plane to Rwanda on Tuesday evening but could not confirm how many.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) granted injunctions blocking the removal of several of those who had been scheduled to be on the flight.
The head of the Church in Wales joined church leaders in England – including the archbishops of Canterbury and York – and human rights groups in criticising the plan.
“lt lacks any kind of cogency. It lacks moral fibre,” said Archbishop John. “There is no right of appeal and outsourcing a complex area to a country that is thousands of miles away. It seems to most people, I think, an abdication of responsibility, he said.
The UK government believes the scheme will act as a deterrent and will stop traffickers from charging asylum seekers large sums of money to cross the English Channel.
The scheme, which faces legal challenges, will send some refugees to Rwanda to claim asylum there instead.
“The problem with the scheme is not only is it immoral but it’s also ineffective,” the archbishop said. It had cost the government “half a million (pounds)” to remove seven people, he said.
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford on Tuesday also said he believed the policy was “a new low for the UK Government”.
“Today is a dark day for the UK,” he tweeted, adding it was a “cruel and inhumane response to those seeking safety and sanctuary in our country”.
The archbishop said that even if the policy was effective, there was no way of determining whether these were innocent people who simply want a decent life and a new start.
He said it was “lamentable” that relations with the French government had broken down and they could not work together the tackle the migrant crisis.
The archbishop, who was elected at the end of last year, added he would not make any apologies for pointing out the “deficits” within the government’s policy.
“It’s the duty of all people, Christians and those of no faith to speak up for those who are marginalised..and for what is right and proper.”
“If we never speak up then perhaps no one else will. We are unambiguous in our condemnation.”
In Swansea, more than 50 protesters gathered on Tuesday to protest against the policy.
Leader of Swansea council Rob Stewart said in a speech that it was “absolutely abhorrent”.
The Court of Appeal ruled on Monday it was in the public interest for the flight to go ahead, following a legal challenge.