Late last night, 22 April 2024, Parliament passed the Government’s cruel Rwanda Bill. 

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 plan, which has already cost hundreds of millions of pounds and caused immense distress, 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 human rights of those seeking sanctuary here. 

Women 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. 

Further, it is 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.  

Whilst we are extremely disappointed that this Bill has passed, we remain staunch in our fight against these cruel plans, and will continue to push for a fair and compassionate asylum system. 

Our Director, Alphonsine Kabagabo, says:  

“I know how it feels to have to uproot your life to seek safety. I cannot imagine the impact it would have had on me to be flown to another country as soon as I had arrived somewhere where I thought I would be protected. I am extremely disappointed, upset and appalled that the UK Government have persistently pursued, and passed, their cruel plan. We will continue to stand against this Act. When we stand together to challenge cruelty, we can create change!”

 Refugee and asylum-seeking women in our network say:

“This cruel plan makes us feel less than human. We came to the UK seeking protection. We have run from danger, persecution, violence, abuse, torture. We need safety – listen to us, understand us, treat us with compassion.

Why don’t we matter? Why are we being sold like commodities? We are human beings. We are not to be bought or sold. 

Forcing people on a plane to Rwanda, thousands of miles away, is cruel. It will cause more pain and more suffering. Already we have fled persecution and sought refuge in this country – only to be turned around and sent to more persecution.

This plan has already cost millions of pounds. This is a waste of money. 

We are feeling: distress, anger, sadness, depression, rejection, helplessness. All we want is protection. Let us work, let us live in our communities, let us be safe. We are valued human beings, just like you.

Together we have people power. Let’s stand together against this cruel plan. Little drops of water make the mighty ocean!”


If you are an asylum-seeking women and need guidance and support because you have received a Notice of Intent to Rwanda, please click here.