The Prime Minister has announced plans to send asylum seekers arriving in the UK to Rwanda. These plans are likely to target single men who would be classed as ‘group 2′ (those who have arrived via unsafe and ‘irregular’ routes) under the provisions of the Nationality and Borders Bill.
In the year 2020-21, more than 80% of people arriving in the UK via irregular routes were granted refugee status through our own asylum procedures. Of those initially rejected, almost half were granted asylum status on appeal.
According to these statistics, the vast majority of people we would be sending to offshore facilities in Rwanda will later be recognised as legitimate refugees.
The TVIA is committed to the principle that, in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention, there is no illegal way to claim asylum. We stand in solidarity will all asylum seekers seeking refuge in the UK, regardless of their means of arrival.
We are deeply concerned about these plans, and the risks they pose to the lives and safety of asylum seekers in search of refuge in the UK. We have serious concerns about:
- the length of time asylum seekers will be waiting in limbo to be processed
- the suitability of proposed accommodation, particularly for the most vulnerable
- challenges in providing legal, medical, and psychological support
- limitations in overseeing and monitoring conditions
- Rwanda’s human rights abuse record
- the significant financial cost of the scheme
- the possible exposure to psychological and physical trauma
- the environmental impact of chartered flights
We believe this proposal reflects the government’s wider agenda to undermine the UK’s asylum and refugee system. These plans, and the Nationality and Borders Bill which provides the legal framework for them, will elongate and obscure the process of claiming asylum in Britain. The UNCHR-UK has stated that this Rwandan deal demonstrates how “the UK is looking to shift its responsibilities towards refugees, not share them.”
For more information, and interviews, contact:
Hari Reed, Advocacy and Communications, TVIA