Syrian refugee slams UK-Rwanda deportation policy and hits back at critics

Syrian refugee slams UK-Rwanda deportation policy and hits back at critics
2 min read
15 April, 2022
Syrian refugee Hassan Akkad slammed the UK government's new Rwanda deportation policy announced on Thursday, saying Britain deserved better leadership.
Hassan Akkad called out the different treatment offered to Ukrainian refugees compared to asylum seekers from elsewhere on British TV [Getty]

Syrian refugee and award-winning documentary filmmaker Hassan Akkad has hit back at critics on social media following his appearance on British television slamming the new UK-Rwanda deportation policy.

Akkad appeared on Good Morning Britain on Thursday morning to speak out against the British government's scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. He said UK leaders were trying to “scapegoat” vulnerable people and debunked inflated notions of the country's “refugee crisis”. 

In response to comments on Twitter accusing the Syrian of “slagging off” the UK, the former English teacher expressed his love for Britain and said it deserved better. 

“When I go on telly to talk about the abhorrent treatment of refugees and migrants in Britain, I’m not ‘slagging off Britain’. 

“I have applied for British citizenship, and I’m hoping to get it. I love this country. I just think that we deserve better than this corrupt government,” he wrote on Twitter. 

Akkad was part of pro-democracy protests in Syria in 2011. He was imprisoned and tortured by the regime, meeting Bashar al-Assad face-to-face at one point.

He later fled Damascus and travelled across Europe via Calais, then on to the UK in 2015.

He told British broadcasters that the threat of deportation to Rwanda will not deter people coming in small boats across the English Channel. 

Live Story

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the Rwanda deportation scheme on Thursday, presenting the plan as a way to “disrupt the business model of [people-smuggling] gangs”. 

Critics of the scheme, which include politicians across political parties, refugee charities and immigration lawyers, have expressed grave concerns over the threat to human rights and the potential cost - estimated at £1.4 billion a year.