Yesterday, 17 January 2024, the Government’s cruel Rwanda Bill passed in the House of Commons.  

This is despite strong opposition, including the UK Supreme Court ruling of 15 November 2023, which deemed the Rwanda plan unlawful, and warnings from the United Nations Refugee Agency that the plan is incompatible with international law. The UK Government cannot operate above the law. 

The plan, which has already cost hundreds of millions of pounds, will mean that people seeking safety in the UK are forcibly deported over 5,000 miles away to Rwanda. Under this plan, people will have their asylum claims processed in Rwanda and, if they are successfully granted refugee status, will be forced to settle there, rather than in the UK. 

The Rwanda plan is part of this Government’s wider destruction of the right to seek asylum in the UK and the erasure of the human rights of those seeking sanctuary here.  

People who are seeking asylum are fleeing for their lives from war, persecution, gender-based and sexual violence, trafficking and other torture. The threat of being flown to Rwanda won’t stop people from claiming asylum in the UK, but it will cause them further harm. 

This Bill is in an inhumane, cruel and disproportionately expensive way to handle the asylum claims of people who desperately need a safe place to rebuild their lives. People seeking safety in the UK should have their claim heard in the UK, and the necessary support to heal and thrive as they rebuild their lives here. 

As the Bill returns to the House of Lords, we urge Peers, as they have done many times before, to reject the Rwanda Bill.  

 

Our Deputy Director, Andrea Vukovic, said: 

At Women for Refugee Women, we are appalled that the UK Government has persistently pursued this cruel and harmful plan, despite its illegality and unworkability.   We will continue to stand firm against this plan which threatens to dismantle the UK’s refugee protection system. As the Bill makes its way back to the House of Lords, we urge Peers to continue to reject it and to ensure the UK is a safe, supportive and welcoming place for people in need of safety.