[Day] March 2022
Dear [MP – find your MP here]
I hope this letter finds you well.
I am writing to you as one of your constituents to encourage you to vocally oppose the plans of the government to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda for asylum processing.
I am extremely concerned about many aspects of these plans which are not only infeasible and expensive – they are simply morally wrong. Ultimately, these plans will place asylum seekers at risk of being retraumatised and will lead to lives wasted and lost while waiting for asylum.
Under this proposal, asylum seekers arriving in the UK are treated as illegal and inhuman and are denied access to their basic human rights. The idea that this is justified by the numbers of “economic migrants taking advantage of the asylum system” simply does not hold up to interrogation. Most asylum seekers claiming asylum in the UK eventually have their applications approved: between 2020-2021, 82% of applicants were granted refugee status (and of those initially rejected, almost half were granted status on appeal). Further, in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention, there is no illegal way to claim asylum.
Beyond this ethical and legal position, I am concerned about a number of practical, financial and political implications of the scheme. These include: the length of time asylum seekers will be waiting in limbo to be processed; the significant financial cost of the scheme; the reality of the provision of financial and housing support for asylum seekers upon arrival in Rwanda; the challenge of providing legal, medical, and psychological support for those seeking asylum; the challenges in overseeing and monitoring conditions; and the environmental impact of the scheme.
In addition, and counter to Boris Johnson’s statement that “Rwanda is one of the safest countries in the world”, I am troubled by Rwanda’s human rights abuse record and the personal evidence of refugees who have experienced return schemes to Rwanda run by Israel who speak of ongoing threatening and degrading behaviours and the confiscation of key identity documents upon arrival.
I ask you to please register your concerns on these issues and to show your support for the UK’s international commitment to safe asylum and refugeehood, as well as your solidarity with the local community organisations, asylum-seekers, and refugees, who work tirelessly to promote and provide sanctuary in Oxfordshire.
[Organisation (if applicable)]