Press release on the passing of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill

We are outraged at the passing of the Safety of Rwanda Bill, which declares Rwanda to be ‘safe’ despite the opposite finding by the Supreme Court, and without even letting the government’s own Monitoring Committee check whether its new Treaty with Rwanda has made any difference on the ground. The people the government wants to send to Rwanda include survivors of trafficking and torture and even children. The Rwanda removals scheme is designed to be deliberately cruel, and we have witnessed the deep and irreparable damage it has already caused to the mental health of our clients.  

There is no evidence that sending people who are seeking protection to Rwanda will act as a deterrent to stop them from making dangerous journeys. To punish those who are fleeing some of the worst conflict and oppression globally — in a misguided attempt to deter others from seeking sanctuary here — is not only morally wrong but fundamentally misunderstands the lack of options available to people fleeing persecution. It is shameful that the government is funding this cruel experiment on human lives with hundreds of millions of taxpayer money.  

Instead of meeting its international humanitarian obligations, the UK is outsourcing its responsibility to protect people seeking sanctuary to other countries. The government should instead ensure that people claiming asylum can have their claims heard in the UK fairly, efficiently, and with access to quality legal representation and access to the courts when necessary to prevent unlawful removals.  

Alison Pickup, Director of Asylum Aid, said: 

The Supreme Court said that Rwanda is not safe after careful consideration of the evidence. Parliament declaring it to be safe doesn’t change the facts on the ground. Continuing to threaten refugees seeking safety from persecution with removal to Rwanda is causing immense fear and distress. It is shameful that instead of giving vulnerable people the protection they need through a fair asylum process the government is determined to pursue this cruel policy which will cause untold harm and won’t have the deterrent effect the Government says it wants. 

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Note to editors: 

Asylum Aid is a leading provider of high-quality legal representation to people with complex cases who are seeking asylum in the UK. For over 30 years, Asylum Aid has worked with survivors of trafficking and torture, stateless people, unaccompanied children, and other vulnerable people seeking asylum to help them gain legal protection in the UK. Since 2020, Asylum Aid is part of the Helen Bamber Foundation Group.