Statement on the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill
We are appalled that the government is continuing to push the Safety of Rwanda Bill through the House of Commons. Those who could be sent to Rwanda include people who have endured the worst of human cruelty in their countries of origin or during their arduous journeys to the UK, or often both. It is inhumane to send them to a third country which they know nothing about, and which has a track record of human rights abuses. This includes sending people back to countries where they were persecuted.
While the government persists with this performative cruelty, the anxiety and uncertainty of being sent to Rwanda is having a devastating impact on the mental health of those seeking protection in the UK. Every day, we see in our therapy sessions how living under a constant threat of removal means that those seeking asylum can never truly feel secure and safe, which is fundamental to their recovery. There is no evidence that the government’s unworkable policy will act as a ‘deterrent’ to people who have no choice but to flee their homes. Instead, it only causes harm and mental stress to those trying to rebuild their lives in the UK.
Just two months ago, the Supreme Court found that Rwanda could not ensure the safety of people sent there by the UK. This Bill ignores that judgment, and the UK’s human rights obligations, by simply declaring Rwanda to be a safe country, despite all evidence saying otherwise. While the Bill makes clear that the UK itself is prepared to violate international law, it also assumes that Rwanda will comply with its own legal obligations.
We call on the government to stop pursuing this ‘legal fiction’ and outsourcing its duty to protect those who are most vulnerable. Instead, it must commit to upholding its international legal obligations and focus on addressing the real challenges prevalent in the UK’s asylum system.
For more information:
* Read this joint briefing by ILPA, Justice and Freedom from Torture, supported by HBF and over 90 other organisations.
* Read our evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights for its legislative scrutiny of the Bill.
HBF has also joined a coalition of more than 260 charities and expert organisations working to protect people’s rights calling on Peers to reject the Bill in the House of Lords.