Stop Rwanda Flights

On 13th April 2022, the UK struck a deal with the Rwandan authorities to begin plans for removing people to Rwanda before hearing their asylum claims. UK taxpayers have already handed over £120 million to the Rwandan authorities under the ‘UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership.’

The first flight was set to take off on 14th June, but was cancelled before following an intervention from the European Court of Human Rights. On the 19th of December 2022, the High Court ruled that the UK government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is legal. Read about the judgment on our blog here. This has since gone to the Court of Appeal. No removal flights to Rwanda will take place while the court case is ongoing.

It was the passage of the Nationality and Borders Act in April 2022 that paved the way for the use of offshore detention for ‘inadmissible’ refugees. The Act, also known by campaigners as the ‘Anti-Refugee Laws’, created two tiers of asylum seekers: those who enter the UK through limited resettlement routes, and those who take unsafe routes, including crossing the channel by boat. This is known as the ‘differentiated treatment of refugees’.

As UNHCR attests, ‘the attempt to create two different classes of recognised refugees is inconsistent with the Refugee Convention and has no basis in international law.’ In fact, ‘There is nothing in the Refugee Convention that defines a refugee or their entitlements under it according to their route of travel, choice of country of asylum, or the timing of their asylum claim.’

A YouGov poll taken in April 2022 showed that the majority of people opposed the plan. A subsequent poll taken in December 2022 shows that ‘a majority of Labour voters think it should be made easier for people to apply for asylum in Britain from overseas, so they don’t need to try and cross the Channel in boats.’

Asylum Welcome have amplified Freedom From Torture’s successful #StoptheFlights campaign which targets the airlines contracted to fly people to Rwanda. We have attended protests in London linked to the court case opposing the flights.

As a member of the 400-strong Together with Refugees coalition, and signatory of the ‘Fight the Anti Refugee Laws‘ pledge, we continue to demand a kind, fair and humane asylum system for people fleeing war, violence and persecution.

  1. Join the Refugees Welcome Protest in Oxford: Saturday 18th Feb at 12PM Bonn Square
  2. Sign the ‘Fight the Anti Refugee Laws‘ pledge
  3. To learn about alternative to the Rwanda plan, read Colin Yeo’s thread here.
  4. Write to your MP. You can voice your concerns using either your own words, or by using our template.
  5. Public scrutiny and campaigning has been successful in putting pressure on private airlines to withdraw from the Rwanda deal, one notable withdrawal being Privilege Style. We now need to apply this pressure to Hi Fly and Iberojet Air. You can voice your opposition through Freedom of Torture’s quick and easy email template, or through social media: @hifly_airline on Instagram and Twitter, @iberojetair_es on Instagram and Twitter.