Over 160 organisations urge government to scrap ‘cruel’ Rwanda asylum plan

19 Apr 2022 News

Over 160 organisations, including Bond and other charities, have signed a letter to the government opposing plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. 

Last week, the government announced plans that would see some refugees in the UK being given a one-way ticket to Rwanda. 

The letter opposing the plans is addressed to prime minister Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel. 

Humanitarian, refugee and LGBT+ charities have signed the letter which calls the plans “shamefully cruel” and “immoral”. 

Stonewall, Humanists UK and Greenpeace are among the signatories. 

‘Out of step with widespread public support for refugees in the UK’

The letter reads: “We resolutely oppose the government’s announcement regarding its plans to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda. This plan is fundamentally out of step with widespread public support for refugees in the UK.”

The organisations wrote that they “demand” the government scrap the Rwandan asylum plan, the Nationality and Borders Bill and the plans to overhaul the Human Rights Act. 

The letter says: “Sending people seeking asylum to Rwanda will cause immense suffering, with the most vulnerable people bearing the brunt. This is a shamefully cruel way to treat people who have come to the UK to seek protection, fleeing persecution or conflict.”

‘UK already accepts proportionately fewer refugees than many other countries’

The statement continues: “The UK already accepts proportionately fewer refugees than many other countries. The relatively small numbers of people who seek asylum in the UK do so because they have some connection here – they may have family here, connections to a diasporic community, or English language skills.

“Many people come from countries that are connected to the UK because of war, invasion or colonisation. To send people seeking asylum to Rwanda is cruel and immoral, and is a breach of the Refugee Convention.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury also condemned the asylum plan in his Easter sermon last weekend. 

In a joint article for The Times, Priti Patel and Rwandan politician Vincent Biruta wrote that “those institutions that criticise the plans, fail to offer their own solutions.”

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