Exporting people seeking asylum – Rwanda

There will be further protests about removals to Rwanda:

Care4Calais: #StopRwanda https://care4calais.org/stop-rwanda/


Updated 12 August 2022: Demonstration on 10 September 2022 in London organised by The Congolese support Group, Apareco and others Congolese groups in the UK


Updated 30 July 2022: DEMONSTRATE! Monday 5 September 2022 9am to 5pm STOP RWANDA FLIGHTS! NO OFFSHORE DETENTION scrap the Nationality and Borders Act #Rwanda

Monday 5 September 9am to 5pm, Outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL

Join this urgent protest !! Now on 5 September due to postponement of court hearing date!! following the Care4Calais & PCS Union’s legal challenge, the case will go to court again for a hearing to decide whether the Rwanda policy itself is lawful.

The legal challenge, and the protests that have taken place late last month week were so important in stopping the horror of refugees being sent to Rwanda on the government’s first scheduled flight.

This demonstration is called jointly by the TUC, Care4Calais, Stand Up To Racism and supported by unions including PCS, Unison, Unite, NEU, GMB, CWU, FBU, NASUWT, ASLEF, UCU and BFAWU, as well as Refugee Council, Citizenship Coalition, Amnesty, StatusNow4All.

https://www.facebook.com/events/s/demonstrate-stop-rwanda-flight/424295039569316/


Updated 20 July 2022: Care4Calais  4 hrs  · We did it! Yesterday was an incredible day. #Rwanda

All of you supporting the #StopRwanda campaign came together and tweeted to show your opposition to the Government’s brutal Rwanda plan. It didn’t just get #StopRwanda trending, it made it #3 in the list. We were even hotter than #heatwave at #4!It was a truly fantastic and encouraging show of what we can do when we all work together.

To top it off, this morning we saw our #StopRwanda tweet being advertised in Daily Mail due to its twitter ranking yesterday. Free advertising from the DM – we hope they don’t notice!

This campaign is now building huge momentum. People are expressing support not just all in the UK but all over the world. The sheer numbers of people speaking out shows conclusively that the UK does not accept the brutal Rwanda plan, and will keep protesting until it is withdrawn. Now is the time to take a stand with us; find out what you can do at care4calais.org/stop-rwanda/Thank you to everyone who took part in the Twitterstorm yesterday. Let’s keep up the pressure, stop the flights and stop this barbaric scheme once and for all.

This campaign is supported by Trades Union Congress (TUC), Stand Up To Racism, PCS Union, UNISON, Unite the union, The Communication Workers Union, GMB Union,@NationalEducationUnion, Fire Brigades Union, NASUWT, ASLEF – The UK Train Drivers’ Union, UCU – University and College Union, and the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union – BFAWU, as well as Refugee Council, CitizenshipCoalition, Amnesty International and Status Now4ALL.


Migration Policy Institute: The UK-Rwanda Agreement Represents Another Blow to Territorial Asylum #Rwanda

The United Kingdom’s controversial deal with Rwanda to relocate certain asylum seekers there—not for offshore processing for possible settlement in the United Kingdom but as a permanent destination—symbolizes the next step in a broader policy push that some high-income countries are taking to externalize migration management.

Read more: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/uk-rwanda-asylum-agreement


There will be further protests about #Rwanda on Saturday in coming months – see below for details

Weekend of 16/17 July 2022:

Brighton: Sunday 17 July, 4.30pm at the Peace Statue, Hove, BN3 2WN
Click here for more information

Cambridge: Saturday 16 July, 12pm at Market Hill, Cambridge
Click here for more information

Cardiff: Saturday 16 July, 2pm at Home Office, General Buildings, Cardiff
Click here for more information

Coventry: Saturday 16 July, 1pm in Broadgate, Coventry CV1 1NF

Coventry

Click here for more information

Leeds: Saturday 16 July, 12pm at Mill Hill Chapel, City Square, Leeds
Click here for more information

Manchester: Saturday 16 July, Solidarity Picnic at 2pm, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester

Click here for more information

Oxford: Saturday 16 July, 12pm in Bonn Square

Sheffield: Saturday 16 July, 12pm at Sheffield Town Hall, Sheffield
Click here for more information

Demonstrate: Monday 5th September, 9am to 5pm

Where: Outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL

On 5th September we will be back in the High Court for the most important hearing yet. The legal challenge, and the protests that took place in June were so important in stopping the horror of refugees being sent to Rwanda on the government’s first scheduled flight. We MUST keep up the pressure and show of opposition.

There will be a demonstration outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London between 9 am – 5 pm with a rally at 2 pm. Please attend if you can.

Click here for more information


Updated 11 July 2022: PCS Press@PCSPress: PCS has welcomed the decision to adjourn until September the full judicial review of the govt’s plans to deport people to Rwanda. #Rwanda

@pcs_union GS Mark Serwotka said: “We shall leave no stone unturned in our attempts to improve the environment in which our members work. We are standing in solidarity with refugees affected by these deplorable policies, and call on the govt to halt all flights to Rwanda until the result of the case is known, and to switch to an asylum system based on humanity, not hostility”


Care4Calais   · Breaking: Rwanda case adjourned Good news! #Rwanda

Good news! We are pleased to report that the Divisional Court has granted our application for an adjournment of the Rwanda case until September.

However the Government has refused to rule out flights in the interim, before the lawfulness of the policy is determined by the courts.

We are currently working with more than 20 people who have been detained and issued with Rwanda notices since the last court case, and many of those from before remain detained, exhausted and alone, and terrified for what the future might bring. They have suffered some of the very worst things that can happen on this planet. They have appalling physical and mental scars, and now face the threat of further extreme trauma. Some have now been in detention more than six weeks and urgently need to be released.

The Rwanda plan is brutal. Given the more humane and effective options available is this really what we as a compassionate country want to do?

We have been overwhelmed by the public support we have received so far but it’s essential that we keep the pressure up. We still have only seven weeks until we will be in court to fight against this cruel plan. To see how you can help please go to care4calais.org/stop-Rwanda


Care4Calais: On Tuesday 19 July 2022, we will go to court again for the hearing to decide whether the Rwanda policy itself is lawful. #Rwanda

See details of the demonstration planned for 19 July 2022, below



Updated 5 July 2022: Guardian: Female trafficking survivor targeted for UK removal to Rwanda, says charity #Rwanda

Exclusive: Women for Refugee Women says it is in touch with first woman considered for removal

A woman in immigration detention has been targeted for removal to Rwanda, a UK refugee charity has said.

Women for Refugee Women said it was in touch with a survivor of trafficking who was recently issued with a notice of intent that she was being considered for removal to Rwanda.

Charity workers say that instead of offering the woman protection and the chance to rebuild her life in the UK, the government is proposing to force her against her will to Rwanda.

The Guardian revealed on Sunday that the Home Office was planning a second flight to Rwanda after the first plane, which was due to take off for the country’s capital, Kigali, was grounded on 14 June following an 11th-hour intervention by the European court of human rights.Advertisement

While the Home Office has not ruled out sending women and children to Rwanda alongside men, this is the first time a woman is thought to have been issued with a notice of intent. Those earmarked for the first flight were all male.

It is understood dozens of male asylum seekers placed in immigration detention after their recent arrivals to the UK in small boats or lorries have also been issued with notices of intent for the second flight to Rwanda.

Since December, an increasing number of women who have recently arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel by boat are being detained upon arrival and sent to Derwentside immigration detention centre in County Durham. Previously it was not Home Office practice to detain female asylum seekers on arrival in the UK.

The Home Office began detaining women at the 84-bed centre on 28 December 2021. There are about 40 women held there.

Women for Refugee Women has expressed particular concern about the Home Office’s decision to target women for removal to Rwanda before a legal challenge the charity launched in the high court against the home secretary, Priti Patel, has been concluded.

The legal action focuses on the government’s failure to provide in-person legal advice to women in Derwentside. Other immigration detention centres do make this provision. During the court case counsel for Patel said three new legal aid contracts for Derwentside were being awarded. Judgment in the case is awaited.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jul/05/female-trafficking-survivor-targeted-for-uk-removal-to-rwanda-says-charity


Updated 4 July 2022 Guardian: UK Home Office plans second flight to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda #Rwanda

Flight could take off within weeks and before court has ruled on whether scheme is lawful

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jul/03/uk-home-office-plans-second-flight-to-deport-asylum-seekers-to-rwanda


Independent: Government accused of ‘outrageous cover-up’ after refusing to reveal cost of Rwanda plan #Rwanda

The government has been accused of an “outrageous” cover-up after refusing to reveal how much its plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda will cost.

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/…/rwanda-migant-asylum


Updated 1 July 2022: The Congolese and Ethiopian refugees in the UK today at N. 10 say all together: #Rwanda

  • No To Racist Deportation To Rwanda.
  • Stop genocide in Congo and
  • Stop genocide of the Amhara and Agew people in Ethiopia
  • Instead of arranging racist deportations to Rwanda

Letter delivered to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson at No. 10 Downing Street today: (see photos below)

APARECO and the Congolese community in the Great Britain wrote this memorandum to stand against the deportation of people to Rwanda.  

APARECO is a worldwide political organisation that stands for a true democracy in the DR Congo and against the Uganda-Rwanda occupation in the DRC. Noting that the DR Congo have a dark history of mass displacement of its population due to proxy wars fuels by Uganda and Rwanda in the DRC, and APARECO-UK is a representative organisation of the Congolese diaspora in the UK, APARECO considers that the UK’s Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda (MEDP) which is a plan to forcibly send people to Rwanda -as safe third country for people fleeing crisis- is not adequate and human for following reasons. 

UK’ s international obligations 

The UK -as a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and to its1967 Protocol, to the the1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness- should have an immigration policy that comply with the international refugee and human rights laws guaranteed by UNHCR which the UK played an important part in drafting and should fulfil its obligations in good faith. Considering that the UK preaches the Human Rights and democracy worldwide.  

In light of the global perspectives, the UK should not be uncharitable and should act according to the global solidarity and responsibility-sharing considering root causes of people mass displacement, and the fact that Rwandan is small and unstable country with a poor and nascent record of asylum system that has an insufficient safeguarding policy. Also noting that small Rwanda craves to forcibly expand its territories into the DR Congo and survives with international aids and the plundering of the DR Congo mineral and natural resources. 

Small Rwanda with limited resources 

Rwanda is 10,000 square miles with a population density of over 1,000 people per square mile. Rwanda is a small, densely populated country with limited resources to support the growing overpopulation which will inevitably lead to resource management issues. 

Considering, Rwanda has the equation of solving the dual problem of the smallness of its territory and population explosion. Thus, Rwanda solves these internal problems on the backs of the DRC and the Congolese people by looting the DR Congo resources and occupying DR Congo territories particularly in the Kivu region. 

For instance, and as part of its expansionist hegemony, Rwanda is annexing the Minembwe territory which is part of the Sovereign DRC by transplanting the “Banyamulenge” -who are Tutsis immigrants from Rwanda- into the DRC. According to humanitarian organizations, over millions of people had recently fled the fighting caused by the troops of the Rwandan and Burundian armies in Minembwe. In fact, these troops are exterminating the Congolese population to replace them with Banyamulenge immigrants. 

Currently, Rwandan returnees after the war face considerable challenges to their reintegration as they cannot access adequate shelter and primary basic needs-such as health education, basic domestic items, or income generation- and livelihood opportunities. Thus, all returnees receive in-kind food ratio from World Food Bank and Multi-purpose Cash Grants from UNHCR to cover their needs.  

Safeguards and international protection issues 

The Rwandan criminal regime does not meet the criteria to provide adequate safeguards to guarantee international protection needs to people fleeing international crisis.  

Rwanda has a record of not treating refugees in accordance with accepted international standards. Rwanda behaviour shows that refugees are at significant risk of arbitrary arrest and prison, no freedom of speech, ill-treatment, killing with no justice or accountability.  

In 2018 and in the context of protest by refugees against food ration cuts, the dictatorship regime of Rwanda:  

  • Killed twelve Congolese refugees.  
  • Arrested over sixty-six refugees and remained detained.  
  • Charged refugees with participating in illegal demonstrations, violence against public authorities, rebellion, and disobeying law enforcement.  
  • Charged refugees with “spreading false information with intent to create a hostile international opinion against the Rwandan state.” 
  • Sentenced refugees to between 3 months and 15 years in prison noting a refugee is currently serving a 15-year sentence. 

Double standard approach 

How can MEDP work? On the one hand, you have Rwanda which opens its arms to refugees, and which is constantly presented as a haven of peace; on the other hand, you have a Rwanda by proxy that attacks, commits genocide in Congo and displaces millions of people from their homes to neighbouring countries in order to seize the lands and resources of the DR Congo. 

The Rwandan criminal regime is not a model or sanctuary for protecting people fleeing crisis. Giving Rwanda the deal to take in people relocated from the UK is a human trafficking approach since the deal involves a lot of money and the regime only considers the financial aspects of the plan. 

As detailed above, the inhuman policy of refoulement of people in Rwanda is not feasible since: 

  • The UK promotes democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression around the world. 
  • The UK is a signatory and contributor to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. Thus, the United Kingdom is the guarantor and the guardian of the 1951 convention and its protocols.
  • Rwanda has insufficient safeguards to guarantee the international protection of refugees. Relating to the UN Mapping Report and 2022 report from Freedom House, Rwanda is a criminal and repressive regime with a well-documented record of mass killings inside and outside its territory, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo; is the most prolific perpetrators of transnational repression in the world; is a constant abuser of human rights.  

Recommendations: 

  • Considering how the crisis of Ukraine refugees is managed by Western countries and consequences of Brexit related to asylum seekers movement in EU, the UK should not replace the Dublin III regulation by the MEDP. The UK and its EU partner still have the gap to reconsider their co-operation or agreement in relation of returning or accepting people who are arriving in the UK from EU. Noting that leaving the EU does not change the UK’s obligation to offer protection to refugees as a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the UK and EU understand very root causes of people mass displacement. Responsibility sharing and good faith could solve the refugee crisis. 
  • In regarding the MEDP effectivity, Kagame, the dictator, should be stopped, not be supported by the UK, and removed from power in order to create peace and democracy in the region. According to the DR Congo’s country guidance in the UK, it has demonstrated that for decades, the majority of Congolese living currently in the UK are refugees or descendants to refugee parents who fled the Congo due to Rwandan/Ugandan/ Burundian military interventions in the Congo. These military interventions turned Congo into “the world capital of rape” where about 48 women are raped every hour and millions of people displaced without accountability. Rwanda’ s atrocities in DRC contributed and are contributing to fuel immigrants in the world including the UK. Hence, Rwanda is not the solution but the problem. The Kigali regime will inevitable harm vulnerable people fleeing international crisis since Kagame has the licence to kill and the international community did not encourage the implementation of the 2001 UN Mapping report to judge criminals who are responsible of mass displacement in the Great-lake Region.  
  •  APARECO and the Congolese community in the Great Britain understand very well Rwanda hegemony and behaviour – including Uganda- in the DR Congo and call -along with UK pastoral organisations and eminent UK politicians from cross-party- to stop deportations of people to Rwanda and supporting the dictatorship regime in Rwanda.    

Therefore, APARECO and the Congolese community in the Great Britain will organise a peaceful sit-in -in front of the 10 Downing Street (The PM office)- on 01/07/2022 to stand against the UK’s Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda (MEDP) and denounce the most killing regime in the world known as Kagame’s Rwanda.  

We have also copied Priti Patel MP (The Secretary of State for the Home Department), Lord Harrington (Minister for Refugees), Keir Starmer MP (The Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition),Kevin Foster MP (Minister for Safe and Legal Migration), Tom Pursglove MP (Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration), the Foreign Affairs Committee in DR Congo crisis, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Migration and Elizabeth Truss MP (the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs). 

We look forward to hearing from Mr, the Prime Minister, and please accept the assurance of my high consideration. 

Yours faithfully 

ALOMO LINGOMBA, Territorial Representative, APARECO-UK 

Ishiaba kasonga, Territorial Advisor in charge of Public Relation and Spokesperson , APARECO-UK 

Serge Egola Angbakodolo, Urban Representative of APARECO-SOUTH/ENGLAND, Member of Congolese community in the Great Britain

(email addresses included)

Updated 30 June 2022: Peaceful sit-in in front Arsenal stadium held today in London #Rwanda

The Congolese community in the UK would like the English Premiere league club  Arsenal to remove “Visit Rwanda” logo on their t-shirt


Updated 27 June 2022: Stop Rwanda Flights: demonstration in London on 19 July 2022 #Rwanda

This demonstration is called jointly by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Care4Calais, Stand Up To Racism and supported by unions including PCS Union, UNISON, Unite the union, National Geographic Education, GMB Union, The Communication Workers Union, Fire Brigades Union, NASUWT, ASLEF – The UK Train Drivers’ Union, UCU – University and College Union and Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union – BFAWU, as well as Refugee Council, @Citizenship Coalition, Amnesty International UK, StatusNow4All.

Tuesday 19 July will be a day of action where in workplaces, colleges and communities we are asking you to join the 11am – 12 noon Twitterstorm, by holding up posters for selfies and sharing your pictures on all social media platforms, especially Twitter, with using #StopRwanda

https://www.facebook.com/events/424295039569316


Updated 25 June 2022: Guardian: Rwanda making preparations to take children removed from UK #Rwanda

Hostel in Kigali building football pitches and providing outdoor toys for any children flown to the country

A hostel that has been leased by the Rwandan government to house asylum seekers from the UK is making preparations to accept children.

The Hope hostel in Kigali is building outdoor facilities that will include football pitches, basketball courts and outdoor toys for any children who are flown to the east African country.

The manager, Elisee Kalyango, confirmed that he was improving facilities for children who could be among those brought from the UK to the 50-room, three-star hotel in the Kagugu district of the city.

Under plans announced by Boris Johnson, the UK will send “tens of thousands” of asylum seekers to Rwanda, where they will be expected to start a new life. The UK has made a £120m downpayment on the scheme.

Part of that money is to pay hotel owners for a year-long lease for their properties to be used just for UK asylum seekers.

The Hope hostel currently stands empty after an 11th-hour intervention by a European court stopped the inaugural deportation flight two weeks ago. Outside, builders were working on pitches for the use of adults and children.

Kalyango confirmed they were taking steps to prepare for the arrival of children under the policy, and said: “We are ready to handle people from any age.”

They were building a “mini football and basketball court, which can be shifted to volleyball” and he said toys could be placed on the lawn.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/24/childrens-facilities-rwanda-hostel-uk-asylum-seekers

See also the interview of the Home Affairs Committee 22 June 2022 on the work of the Home Office:

Q346       Paula Barker: One of our previous visits was to Dover, before we went to Sheffield. We spoke to staff there, and they said that with Rwanda at present it would be single men. We asked whether or not that would ever be rolled out to single women and to families. Are there any plans to roll it out to women and families?

Matthew Rycroft: First, I thank the Committee members for going to Dover. I think it is valuable that you were able to do that as well as the Sheffield trip earlier, and I would obviously encourage other trips like that.

Paula Barker: We plan to have lots of trips to see what the Home Office is up to.

Matthew Rycroft: I think it is a really good way of understanding each other, so thank you for your commitment to doing that. I think it is fair to say that the vast majority of people to be relocated to Rwanda will be single men, but obviously we have not relocated anyone to Rwanda yet so I think we need to give this time to work out. We are still in the foothills of implementing this policy.

Q347       Ms Abbott: The vast majority? Are you saying, therefore, that some could be women and families?

Matthew Rycroft: All of the 47 who received removal notices on the first attempted flight last week were single men, and that is where we are starting with the policy.

Q348       Paula Barker: Starting? So you are not ruling out women and families?

Matthew Rycroft: I think I am right in saying that we have not ruled out women.

https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/10463/html/


Updated 22 June 2022: BBC: Plan to reverse European Court Rwanda rulings #Rwanda

The European Court of Human Rights block on sending asylum seekers to Rwanda could be overturned by ministers under new proposals.

The plan, being introduced to Parliament, would allow ministers to ignore the court’s injunctions.

It is an addition to planned changes to the Human Rights Act, and could also affect future cases involving migrants.

Critics say the proposals are confusing and would create two tiers of rights that hand more power to ministers.

But Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said his proposed Bill of Rights fixed problems with the Human Rights Act without abandoning it altogether.

Unveiling the plans, Mr Raab confirmed the government would not quit the European Convention on Human Rights, a set of legal safeguards allowing ordinary people to challenge what they say is unfair treatment by the government.

The Human Rights Act came into force in 2000. It introduced into UK law rights contained in the Convention – a treaty largely written by British civil servants and lawyers after World War Two and agreed by almost every nation in Europe.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-61887933


Updated 21 June 2022: See also this post: #Rwanda

https://statusnow4all.org/international-federation-of-iraqi-refugees-claims-that-man-was-subjected-to-inhumane-treatment-during-attempted-deportation-to-rwanda/

16 June 2022: Guardian: Rwanda refugee policy is like the rendition of slaves in the 1800s #Rwanda

Prof Julia O’Connell Davidson likens the government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to the forced returns facilitated by the Fugitive Slave Act in the US. Plus a letter from Mark Stephens

Priti Patel claims that the policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda is a means to combat criminal gangs involved in people trafficking – a form of modern-day slavery. Yet, unlike African victims of the transatlantic slave trade, the people described as trafficked today actively want to move, and for very good reason.

A better historical comparison is with people who tried to escape from slavery. Like “fugitive slaves”, they move in search of greater freedom. Through this lens, Patel’s Rwanda policy looks more like the forms of rendition facilitated by the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act in the US, whereby those who escaped were more readily returned to the condition they had fled.

Had she been present at the time, presumably Patel would not have been disappointed by the Massachusetts court that ruled in 1854 that Anthony Burns, a refugee from slavery, could be forcibly returned to his “owner” in Virginia. Burns had, after all, made an illegal border crossing to escape. But in the words of Henry David Thoreau, Burns’ rendition revealed the state of Massachusetts as “morally covered with volcanic scoriae and cinders”. With perhaps even greater resonance for Britain today, he continued: “If there is any hell more unprincipled than our rulers … I feel curious to see it.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jun/16/rwanda-refugee-policy-is-like-the-rendition-of-slaves-in-the-1800s


15 June 2022: Care4Calais  #Rwanda

Last night, at the 11th hour, five men were stopped from boarding a flight to Rwanda. In the morning, seven had been expecting to be on the plane. Through the day, four of those seven made individual claims to the British courts to stop them being forcibly sent. Three more men had their deportations stopped by an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

This meant there was no deportation to Rwanda yesterday.

The ECHR gave four main reasons for its decision:

– The Evidence from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees that asylum seekers in Rwanda would not have access to a fair and efficient process to determine their asylum claim.

– That the UK courts had acknowledged that this evidence raised very serious issues, even though they decided not the stop the removal.

– That enforcing human rights in Rwanda would be difficult as Rwanda is not part of the European Convention on Human Rights.

– That there is no legally-enforceable way of ensuring someone would be returned to the UK if the policy was found unlawful.

Because of this, the ECHR was satisfied that there was a real and imminent risk of severe and irreversible harm, and so it ordered that the individuals should not be removed from the UK.

This was a great relief for us, for the individuals concerned and for their families. However, it is by no means over yet. The important hearing is the one in July. In July we will go to court again for the court to decide whether the Rwanda policy itself is lawful. This will be an incredibly important decision for many refugees, and for the future of the UK.

We think this policy is utterly barbaric and, given there are more humane and effective alternatives available, a stain on our nation’s history. If the Government truly wanted to stop people smugglers and save lives they would give other refugees visas to cross the Channel in a similar way to Ukrainians. With these visas, refugees could then claim asylum on arrival in the UK. This would put people smugglers out of business overnight. We have not seen any Ukrainians getting in small boats or paying people smugglers, so we know this could work.

Right now people are coming anyway, but there is no control and they are taking dangerous risks. Visas would mean we know exactly who is coming. People smugglers would no longer make money.

They should never have been put through the hell of the last few days. We must remember that every single refugee is a victim of the worst things on this planet. They need our help and our compassion as human beings. Using them as political pawns is unforgivable. Our lawyers are working hard to get them released. But we know the Government will work harder than ever to deport more people just like them.

Last night was the culmination of dedicated people working long days and nights with no breaks or weekends. We are incredibly proud of our volunteers, some of whom are refugees themselves. This will be a long hard fight. You can support their work here: bit.ly/c4caccess

Guardian: What is the ECHR and how did it intervene in UK’s Rwanda flight plans? #Rwanda

International court that grounded deportation flight was established in 1953 to stop human rights abuses

After the first deportation flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda was abandoned following a dramatic 11th-hour intervention from the European court of human rights, the government insisted it was only a “temporary setback”. As some Conservative MPs are expected to renew calls for the UK to withdraw from the ECHR, here are some key questions surrounding its role in this case.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/law/2022/jun/15/what-is-the-echr-and-how-did-it-intervene-in-uk-rwanda-flight-plans


Politico: The next hole in UK’s Rwanda asylum plan: Conflict in Congo #Rwanda

In a dramatic military escalation, Kinshasa accuses Kigali of backing a rebel group and seizing a border town.

LONDON/BUKAVU, Congo — Lawyers aren’t the only obstacle to Boris Johnson’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The U.K. prime minister will soon also have to grapple with the fallout of a dramatically escalating regional conflict that Rwanda is accused of stoking in the east of neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Britain’s first planned flight transporting refugees more than 4,000 miles away to Kigali was ultimately canceled on Tuesday night after an 11th-hour intervention from the European Court of Human Rights. Undeterred by farcical scenes of passengers being pulled from the plane one-by-one in the minutes before take-off was scheduled, Johnson’s government is vowing to press ahead with its highly contentious new migration policy.

Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist who won a Nobel prize for his work combating sexual violence in conflict zones, said an increasing number of victims were heading to his clinic in eastern Congo and pointed the finger squarely at Kigali. “Rwanda is hoping that everyone will look at the Ukraine war and that it will be left alone here,” he told POLITICO at the Panzi hospital in Bukavu.

Read more: https://www.politico.eu/article/uk-deportation-plan-rwanda-fighters-congo/



14 June 2022 10.12pm: Care4Calais@Care4Calais·BREAKING: Last ticket cancelled. NO ONE IS GOING TO RWANDA #Rwanda

Jessica Simor QC @JMPSimor

Breaking: European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg grants rule 39 request to stop the flight to Rwanda from leaving. Basis: real risk of inhuman and degrading treatment (Art. 3 ECHR). Please share – government must comply.

This is in relation to one individual but the ruling contains a generic test that would apply to any of the applicants who have pending legal proceedings, which is likely all of them in so far as they have sought interim injunctions (ie until their cases are heard).


7.45pm: Guardian: Rwanda asylum flight in doubt after 11th-hour ECHR intervention #Rwanda

Lawyers make successful emergency application to European court that could lead to grounding of first flight

In an initial decision, a letter from the court has stated that the asylum seeker should not be removed on Tuesday evening. Sources have claimed that the grounds cited apply to all asylum seekers facing removal so all asylum seekers due to board the plane tonight can rely on this decision from the court.The court said it took particular account of evidence from UNHCR that asylum seekers transferred from the UK to Rwanda will not have access to fair and efficient procedures for the determination. The decision also cited the ruling by Mr Justice Swift, who although he refused to grant an injunction to halt tonight’s flight said the question about whether to treat Rwanda as a safe third country was irrational or based on ‘insufficient enquiry’ gave rise to “serious triable issues”.More details soon …

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/14/european-court-humam-right-makes-11th-hour-intervention-in-rwanda-asylum-seeker-plan


The Bar Council: @TheBarCouncil #Courts

Read more: https://twitter.com/thebarcouncil/status/1536732488827035648/photo/1

14 June 2022: Independent: ECHR confirms ‘interim measures’ to block removal of asylum seeker to Rwanda #Rwanda

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has confirmed its decision to block the sending of an asylum-seeker facing imminent removal to Rwanda, bringing the total number of people left on the flight departing for the African country tonight to six.

The urgent intervention by the ECHR, requested yesterday, is in relation to an Iraqi national who came to the UK on 17 May this year.

The interim measures indicated that the removal of the individual may not go ahead until “three weeks after the delivery of the final domestic decision in his ongoing judicial review proceedings,” the ECHR said.

Its statement reads: “Under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, the Court may indicate interim measures to any State Party to the European Convention on Human Rights. Measures under Rule 39 are decided in connection with proceedings before the Court, without prejudging any subsequent decisions on the admissibility or merits of the case.

“The Court grants such requests only on an exceptional basis, when the applicants would otherwise face a real risk of irreversible harm. For further information, see the factsheet on interim measures.”

The Home Office was approached for comment, but declined.

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/rwanda-refugees-flight-latest-priti-patel-b2100383.html


If you only do one thing today, make it this… #Rwanda

So it appears that Privilege Style (what a name) airline is up to its neck in Priti Patel’s inhumane Rwanda policy (aka offshoring some of the world’s most vulnerable people).
Email the owner and the company to express your disgust and tell them to pull out.
The owner of Privilege Style is Chema Alvarez, e-mail address Chema@privilegestyle.com

Marketing: communication@privilegestyle.com
Commercial: sales@privilegestyle.com
Information: privilege@privilegestyle.com
Not in my name.


The government is plotting to send people fleeing torture and war to Rwanda. But they need planes to fly people – and airlines can choose whether to play a part. That’s where we come in.

Small private airlines aren’t used to getting attention, if thousands of us get in touch, they’ll realise just how damaging this cruelty would be for their public image.

Let’s flood the inboxes of the airlines with emails. The first plane could leave within weeks – but it can’t happen if these airlines refuse. https://secure.freedomfromtorture.org/page/107146/action/1


14 June 2022: Guardian: We are the civil servants who put up ‘Go home Paddington’ notices in revolt #Rwanda

Secret Home Office staffer

The Rwanda deportation plan has pushed us over the edge. So we are resisting, and invite our colleagues to stand up for their principles

Like many civil servants, I joined because of the principles. We work here because we want to serve the public, to make vital services work well, and to help people. I work with dedicated, skilled and compassionate people. We understand that we aren’t the politicians; we just want to get on and make things work for the public.

But at the Home Office, it is unavoidably clear that the things we are now ordered to put into place – from borders to policing to immigration enforcement – are doing real harm to many people. As the report on the historical roots of the Windrush scandal showed, the Home Office has a long and ugly history of structural racism, with UK immigration policy shaped for decades to try to minimise the number of black and minority ethnic people in this country.

So it is little surprise that the barbaric Rwanda transportation plan – to forcibly fly people who have escaped trauma and horror to another continent – is presented to us by senior fellow civil servants as “humanitarian”. The laughably absurd idea that it has anything to do with preventing people smugglers is repeated with a straight face.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/13/civil-servants-go-home-paddington-revolt-rwanda-deportation


#Unions


BBC: The first flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda will take off and people who are not removed on Tuesday will be on subsequent flights, Liz Truss has said #Rwanda

The foreign secretary said it would “establish the principle” and break people traffickers’ business models.

[It’s interesting that in an earlier version of this story, the BBC wrote’

The charter flight, operated by airline Privilege Style, is estimated to be costing the government £500,000 They will get accommodation and support while the Rwandan government considers their….’,

but that has been removed]

Seven or eight people are due to be removed on Tuesday, after dozens won legal cases to be taken off. But more legal challenges are set to be heard.

Church of England leaders described the plan as an “immoral policy”.

Three more legal challenges from people set to be flown to the east African nation’s capital Kigali are expected to be heard in the courts before the flight departs.

A last-ditch attempt to block the flight altogether was rejected by the Court of Appeal on Monday, however.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61791994


The Times: Church says sending migrants to Rwanda brings shame on Britain #Rwanda

The entire senior leadership of the Church of England has denounced the Rwanda migrant flights as an “immoral policy that shames Britain”.

An excoriating letter to The Times, signed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and all of the other 23 bishops’ sitting as Lords Spiritual in the House of Lords, states: “Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation.”

It adds that “the shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries”.

Read more: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/prospects-for-rwanda-flight-slim-httc7s007


13 June 2022: Guardian: Children deemed adults by Home Office could be deported to Rwanda #Rwanda

Children’s and refugees charities raise concerns after detention of three children misjudged as adults in offshoring programme

Concerns are mounting that children wrongly assessed as adults by the Home Office could end up being offshored to Rwanda.

The Guardian understands that three age-disputed children who the Home Office declared to be adults and detained in preparation for offshoring to Rwanda have now been released. It is understood that concerns have been raised about whether at least three more detainees threatened with removal to the east African country are children rather than adults.

A letter signed by members of the Refugee and Migrant Children’s Consortium including the Children’s Society, Refugee Council and ECPAT is being sent to the home secretary, Priti Patel.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/13/children-deemed-adults-by-home-office-could-be-deported-to-rwanda


12 June 2022: Many demonstrations today and planned over the next few days calling for the plan to send people to Rwanda to be scrapped. Here are some photos and reports: #Rwanda

Gatwick

Moses at Brook House, Gatwick demonstration 12 June 2022

Manchester:

Guardian: Hundreds gather in Manchester to oppose Rwanda deportation plan

Protesters march in city centre as anger grows over Priti Patel’s refugee scheme

Hundreds of Mancunians – many of them from charities, campaign groups and religious organisations – gathered in the city’s St Peter’s Square on Sunday to protest against the government’s plan to deport refugees to Rwanda.

With just two days to go before the first refugees are due to board flights to the central African country, the protest was one of a number taking place across the UK, and was happening amid further legal challenges after the high court ruled last week that the flights can go ahead.

Speakers included Maddy Summerfield of Care4Calais, who described the deportation scheme as “obscene” and told the crowd: “There are 6,500 people in Manchester’s asylum system and we’re here yet again to call for justice for them.”

Other speakers included Martin Empson of the Campaign Against Climate Change, who said: “Many in the global south are facing the consequences of the climate disaster on a daily basis. Simultaneously, they’re met with racism and state oppression at every turn. As a nation, we have to do something.”

He added: “Fighting for a sustainable future means fighting for one that is free from oppression.”

Dr Rhetta Moran, from human rights group Rapar, called for people to “stand shoulder to shoulder” and “keep finding ways to build solidarity”. Her comment that “this can’t carry on in our name” was met with rapturous cheers.

Moran and other speakers referred to Saturday’s events in Peckham, south London, where protesters blocked a van transporting a man who had been arrested for immigration offences.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/12/hundreds-gather-in-manchester-to-oppose-rwanda-deportation-plan


Guardian: Unions call for delay to Rwanda policy until legal position fully tested #Rwanda #Unions

Appeal against plan to remove asylum seekers who arrive in the UK via unofficial routes due to take place on Monday

Protests have taken place before a possible first flight removing asylum seekers to Rwanda, as unions said that officials should not be asked to take part in a policy that may subsequently be declared illegal.

With the first flight in the deportation scheme scheduled to take place on Tuesday evening, activists also promised to target the Spanish charter airline understood to be providing the aircraft.

A high court judge ruled on Friday that he would not halt the first deportations to Rwanda of individuals who had arrived in Britain via unofficial routes, but an appeal against his decision is due on Monday.

Hundreds of people, including representatives of campaign groups and religious organisations, gathered in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square on Sunday to protest against the flight, which speakers described as obscene, also citing criticism from Prince Charles, who reportedly called the scheme appalling.

More protesters gathered outside Brook House immigration removal centre close to Gatwick, carrying placards.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/12/unions-call-for-delay-to-rwanda-policy-until-legal-position-fully-tested


11 June 2022: Freedom from Torture: Don’t fly refugees to Rwanda #Rwanda

Iberojet and Privilege Style have flown refugees for the UK government before and they’re refusing to rule out being involved in shipping people to Rwanda from 14th June.

To be a refugee isn’t a choice, but these airlines have a choice today.

Let’s tell them to chose not to profit from people’s pain.

Thousands of us across the UK are united against this cruel plan and will do everything we can to stop it.

CONTACT IBEROJET AND PRIVILEGE STYLE – information here:

https://social.digital-activist.org/j/stoptheflights


PCS Union @pcs_union‘ #Rwanda #Unions

There is unprecedented opposition to this policy within the Home Office. Priti Patel should not deport a single person before the full legality of this policy has been tested by the courts in July’ PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka @BBCr4today#Rwanda


Updated 10 June 2022: Care4Calais: The High Court has denied an injunction seeking to stop next week’s planned flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda. #Rwanda

He says that each case should be considered on an individual basis and there is no need for an injunction.However, as a result of today’s case six refugees have had their directions to be sent to Rwanda cancelled. This shows how important it is that no one is deported until the lawfulness of the policy is fully examined. Some of the refugees do not yet have legal representation. They are at risk of being deported by a policy that may ultimately be found to be unlawful. We are therefore considering an urgent appeal.

This is an extremely disappointing outcome and we are deeply concerned for the welfare of the people who may be forcibly deported to Rwanda, a fate that could profoundly harm their mental health and future lives. However, today was just the beginning of this legal challenge and we believe that the next stage may bring an end to this utterly barbaric plan.

There are other, more humane and more effective ways to both save lives and combat people smugglers. As compassionate people, we need to ask ourselves if an unnecessarily brutal and cruel plan like Rwanda is really what we want to do.

During the hearing UNHCR explained several reasons why they consider that the policy is unlawful. We now need the courts to do the right thing and agree. Today’s decision was on the granting of interim relief. This is not the Court’s decision on the lawfulness of the Rwanda policy, which will be determined at a final hearing.

We need your help more than ever to #StopRwanda.

Please go to care4calais.org/stop-rwanda/


The Times: Prince Charles: Flying migrants to Rwanda is ‘appalling’ #Rwanda

Prince speaks out before Commonwealth summit as judge rules first deportations can go ahead

The Prince of Wales has privately described the government’s policy to send migrants to Rwanda as “appalling”, The Times has been told.

Prince Charles is said to be particularly frustrated at Boris Johnson’s asylum policy as he is due to represent the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, this month.

Migrants who arrive in Britain illegally face being deported to Rwanda, more than 4,000 miles away, under a deal struck by Priti Patel, the home secretary, in April.

Today Patel overcame an initial legal challenge to the policy after a High Court judge ruled that the first flight due to deport migrants on Tuesday could go ahead.

A source had heard Charles, 73, expressing opposition to the policy several times in private and said he was particularly uncomfortable about it amid fears that it would overshadow the summit on June 23.

“He said he was more than disappointed at the policy,” the source said. “He said he thinks the government’s whole approach is appalling. It was clear he was not impressed with the government’s direction of travel.”

Clarence House did not deny that Charles was opposed to the policy but insisted that he had not tried to influence the government. A spokesman said: “We would not comment on supposed anonymous private conversations with the Prince of Wales, except to restate that he remains politically neutral. Matters of policy are decisions for government.”

Read more: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/prince-charles-flying-migrants-to-rwanda-is-appalling-l6jzklfhm


Freemovement: leaflet: How to respond to Rwanda removal notices : #Rwanda

https://freemovement.org.uk/notice-of-intention-removal-to-rwanda-information-leaflet/


Telegraph: Asylum seekers resettled in Rwanda under EU scheme abandoned to poverty #Rwanda

Refugees tell the Telegraph there is not enough food, housing, medical services and other basic necessities

Asylum seekers in Rwanda have said they have been left in a “traumatising” poverty-stricken limbo for years, barely able to afford clothes and constantly in fear of the country’s brutal security forces, an investigation by The Telegraph has found.

As the Home Office prepares to send the first batch of asylum seekers 4,000 miles south on a one-way ticket to Rwanda on Tuesday 14 June, this newspaper sent journalists to investigate what was happening in the police state.

Read more: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/climate-and-people/asylum-seekers-resettled-rwanda-eu-scheme-abandoned-poverty/


The Catholic Church: Nuncio brings Pope’s Blessing to Asylum Seekers housed at Napier Barracks #Napier Barracks #Housing

For the second time this year, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the Pope’s representative to Great Britain, visited asylum seekers housed in a former army barracks in Kent to bring the Holy Father’s special blessing and greetings to them as they seek the prospect of a better life without persecution.

The Apostolic Nuncio saw Pope Francis’ simple Christian gesture as a sign of solidarity and hope.

You can listen to our short interview with Archbishop Gugerotti and read the transcript below.

Listen (on the link)

Transcript

I am Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain. Today we went together to Napier Barracks in Dover for the second time. The first time was some months ago.

The Pope was very eager to have an idea of how these people lived – these people who came by boat. I was speaking with them. [Some said] it took two, two-and-a-half years to arrive in Great Britain. We had very nice conversations with many of them the first time, and also with the people who take care of them.

When I came back, something very strange happened. I wrote an email to His Holiness, the Pope, explaining that I had gone to the barracks and met refugees. After two days, exactly two days, I received a picture of the Holy Father, his blessing and his handwritten signature. The Pope said, “Now go back to the barracks and just convey to these people my blessing – the special blessing that I have sent to you for them.” Which I did. So the reason for today’s trip was to go and give the picture with the blessing of the Holy Father to the residents of Napier Barracks.

Certainly the Pope is very attentive to their needs. The marginalised, the person in trouble, the person who sometimes is not well-received… well, this is Jesus Christ. This is exactly what happened to Jesus. Jesus told us that all those in that condition and all that is done or given to them, is done and given to Him. It’s simply the Gospel – nothing more, nothing less.

The group we met was mostly Christian. So the very fact that the Pope, not only decided to give this image, this picture and his greetings, but wanted to sign it personally was a sign of hope. What they need is to imagine they can live well integrated into a community and can work for the good of that community. They want to live a life that is different from the slaughters and tragedies that they have had to see – not only in their counties but also during their travels.

So you see, it’s a very simple gesture. It’s a Christian gesture. One of the most morally significant people in the world thought of them – took them into consideration, blessed them. It’s an expression of solidarity, which for them is a reason for living and continuing to wait and expect the possibility of a better life without persecution

Read more: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/nuncio-brings-popes-blessing-to-asylum-seekers-housed-at-napier-barracks/


Updated 8 June 2022: Two signatory organisations are involved in bringing the matter of plans to send people to Rwanda, to the Courts’ attention: PCS and Care4Calais: #Rwanda #Unions

PCS: PCS and human rights groups challenge home secretary’s Rwanda removal policy in High Court

PCS, Care4Calais and Detention Action, along with 4 asylum seekers facing removal by plane to Rwanda on Tuesday, have now issued judicial review proceedings in the High Court, challenging the home secretary’s plan to remove asylum-seekers to Rwanda.

The claimants, represented by Duncan Lewis Solicitors, argue that the Rwanda removals policy, as well as the removals of the 4 individual asylum seekers specifically, are unlawful on multiple bases. These include, but are not limited to:

  • the vires or legal authority of the home secretary to carry out the removals;
  • the rationality of the secretary of state’s conclusion that Rwanda is generally a “safe third country”;
  • the adequacy of provision for malaria prevention, and compliance with the Human Rights Act.

The claim has been issued as a matter of urgency, following Priti Patel’s scheduling of the first removal flight to Rwanda on Tuesday (14 June) and her refusal to give assurances that no removals to Rwanda would take place until the lawfulness of the Rwandan removals policy has been tested in court.

The claimants also seek an injunction in respect of the flight scheduled for 14 June.

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “PCS believes that the government’s Rwanda plan is unlawful. In the past 5 years, we have lodged five judicial review applications against the government where they have breached the law. We are determined to hold them to account over this latest scheme.

“It appears this government have learned nothing from the Windrush scandal, among others. PCS is not prepared to countenance our members being put in potentially dangerous and traumatic situations, where they may be asked to act illegally.

“PCS is determined to work for a more humane environment on asylum and immigration. This would give our members the time, space and resources that they need to carry out their jobs properly and would improve the experience of refugees. This latest judicial review application is key to that endeavour.” 

James Wilson, deputy director of Detention Action, said: “In her desire to punish people for seeking asylum by forcing them on to a plane to Rwanda, Priti Patel has overstepped her authority.

“By rushing through what we say is an unlawful policy, she is turning a blind eye to the many clear dangers and human rights violations that it would inflict on people seeking asylum.

“It’s vital that new government policies respect and uphold the laws that we all, as a society, have agreed to follow. That’s why we’re seeking an injunction to keep this plane to Rwanda from leaving the runway.”

Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, said: “We have spoken to nearly 100 people in detention who’ve been told they will be forcibly sent to Rwanda. Almost all are overwhelmed by total shock and despair.

“Many came to the UK believing it to be a good place that would treat them more fairly than the places from which they escaped.

“We say that the Rwanda plan is unlawful. We hope the courts will agree with us.”

https://www.pcs.org.uk/news-events/news/pcs-human-rights-groups-challenge-home-secretarys-rwanda-removal-policy-high-court


Guardian: Home Office’s Rwanda deportation plans face high court challenge #Rwanda

About 130 asylum seekers expected to be sent to Rwanda on 14 June

Priti Patel’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as soon as next week is facing a legal challenge under emergency proceedings launched in the high court on Wednesday.

An application for a judicial review claims that the home secretary’s policy is unlawful. Claimants are also seeking an injunction that will attempt to stop the plane from taking off.

It is the first legal challenge of the policy to have been officially put before the courts, and comes as Boris Johnson is under pressure from his own MPs to demonstrate a policy success.

With less than a week until the flight on 14 June, up to 130 asylum seekers are expected to be flown one way to Rwanda and encouraged to apply for asylum there.

The judicial review has been launched by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the charity Care4Calais and the pressure group Detention Action, along with four asylum seekers facing removal to the east African state.

The policy, which was unveiled by Johnson, will be challenged over Patel’s right to carry out such removals; the rationality of Patel’s claim that Rwanda is generally a “safe third country”; the adequacy of provision for malaria prevention in Rwanda; and whether it complies with the Human Rights Act.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/08/home-offices-rwanda-deportation-plans-face-high-court-challenge


Updated 8 June 2022: #Rwanda


Facing Rwanda

The illustrations you see here are of men on a list to be deported to Rwanda, a country they’ve never been to, where they have no family or friends, no connection at all. The drawings are based on photos sent by the men’s families, some showing them at home with their children before leaving, or saying goodbye, or in the course of their journeys.

Men on a list to be deported to Rwanda.

These men came to the UK seeking safety. They are nine out of a hundred on the Home Office’s list. The hundred include survivors of torture, and of modern slavery. These hundred were picked by the UK authorities to be made an example of, picked out of hundreds more who have recently crossed the English Channel in small boats.

The Home Office plans to forcibly deport them on the 14th of June.

Read more: https://www.syrianotes.org/2022/06/facing-rwanda.html


MSN: Rwanda’s own refugees warn deal with ‘conman’ Kagame shows UK doesn’t care what happens overseas #Rwanda

In a week’s time on 14 June, the first flight of refugees seeking asylum in the UK is set to depart to Kigali, Rwanda. The idea is that from there, these refugees, mostly from Syria, will be processed and offered the right to settle in the east African country.

Yet Rwanda has created, and continues to create, countless refugees of its own. At least 287,000 Rwandans live outside the country, having fled from the regime of President Paul Kagame – and it is estimated the figure could be as high as one million.

“Kagame is a stooge: he’s a conman of the West in dubious business including, now, human trafficking,” is how one such Rwandan exile describes the president and his £120m deal with the UK Government.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/rwanda-s-own-refugees-warn-deal-with-conman-kagame-shows-uk-doesn-t-care-what-happens-overseas/ar-AAYakAD


Updated 5 June 2022: Guardian: UK accused of attempting to deport children to Rwanda #Rwanda

Charities claim asylum seekers under 18 being classed as adults under Home Office age assessments

The Home Office has been accused of attempting to deport unaccompanied 16-year-olds to Rwanda in the first wave of asylum seekers to be sent to east Africa later this month.

Charities have identified what they describe as a “worrying pattern” of children being classed as adults by Home Office age assessments, raising fears they could be among those deported 4,500 miles to Rwanda.

One individual who said they were under 18 was placed in detention awaiting potential deportation to Rwanda and only released at the end of May, following intervention from lawyers.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/05/uk-accused-of-attempting-to-deport-children-to-rwanda


See this post: Public Order Bill is a Threat https://statusnow4all.org/public-order-bill-is-a-threat/

Updated 3 June 2022: Freemovement leaflet: How to respond to Rwanda removal notices #Rwanda

Asylum seekers arriving by boat have started to receive notices informing them of the UK government’s intention to remove them to Rwanda pursuant to the “Migration and Economic Development Partnership” announced last month. We learned yesterday that the Home Office wishes to begin removing people on 14 June. This article offers some practical suggestions on how representatives may wish to respond to notices of intent, based on my own experience and research so far.

These notices are not decisions or removal directions. If the person served with the notice is in detention, they are told that they must respond within seven days. If they are not in detention, the deadline is 14 days. The shorter timeframe for people in detention is presumably because of the supposition that legal advice is available through the Detained Duty Advice Scheme. The problems with this are well-known.

The notice should be accompanied by an information leaflet (download a copy or see below).

Read more: https://freemovement.org.uk/notice-of-intention-removal-to-rwanda-information-leaflet/


A reminder about vaccinations for people threatened with removal from UK, using  Rwanda as an example: #Rwanda

Malaria is endemic in Rwanda.  Up to 20% of children die of it before age five.  Those who remain are mostly immune.  However new arrivals who have not previously suffered it are likely to get it, unless they are protected.  Among the many legal challenges to the government’s policy of sending people to Ruanda will be one concerning malaria protection.  This danger is worth mentioning to anyone in immigration removal centres.


Updated 1 June 2022: The Times: ‘Everyone knows that we have a dictatorship in Rwanda. That is not a secret’ #Rwanda

The country’s opposition leader — jailed for eight years — attacks the Tories’ asylum plan and says her nation is no democracy

The British government is betraying the democratic values of the Commonwealth by deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, the repressive African country’s opposition leader has said.

Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza spent eight years in prison — five in solitary — after returning from exile to challenge Paul Kagame, the long-serving president, in the 2010 election. She was arrested that year and convicted of genocide denial and conspiring against the government in what human rights groups called a flawed trial. Following a presidential pardon and her release in 2018 she is living in the capital Kigali, where the Commonwealth heads of government meet next month. She cannot leave the country without permission, however, and must appear at a prosecution office once a month.

She is also unable to register her political party, Development and Liberty For All (Dalfa-Umurinzi) in Rwanda.

Ingabire, 53, criticised the British government for the deal, under which it will pay Rwanda to take in an unknown number of people who have come to the UK to claim asylum. “Everybody knows that we have a dictatorship in Rwanda. That is not a secret,” she said. “It is unacceptable that a democratic country sends refugees to a non-democratic country. That a rich country sends the refugees to the poor country saying we will give you money. The UK is the head of the Commonwealth. It is betraying the values that they pledge to everywhere, human rights, democracy, tolerance and respect, freedom of expression, the rule of law. They are all values Rwanda does not respect and I think now the UK government is in violation of the core values of the Commonwealth

Read more: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/everyone-knows-that-we-have-a-dictatorship-in-rwanda-that-is-not-a-secret-hrsd27w8f


Updated 31 May 2022: Zoe Gardner@ZoeJardiniere Syrians. It’s 15 Syrians who have been served with a removal notice that they’ll be sent away to Rwanda on 14 June. #Rwanda

We cannot stand for this barbarism. Syrians refugees, ALL refugees are welcome here. Zoe is Policy & Advocacy at JCWI


PCS on Twitter: @PCSPress #Rwanda #Unions

Responding to the Govt’s announcement it is to start sending refugees to Rwanda on June 14, @pcs_union said: “This policy is inhumane and impractical, and together with charities @DetentionAction and @Care4Calais, we shall continue to challenge it in the courts.”


Guardian: First Rwanda deportation flight to leave UK on 14 June, says Priti Patel #Rwanda

Group of asylum seekers sent formal notices advising they will be relocated to east African country, say officials

The first deportation flight to Rwanda carrying people who arrived in the UK without authorisation is scheduled to leave on 14 June, Priti Patel has announced.

A group of asylum seekers has been sent formal notices by the Home Office advising they will be relocated to the east African country, officials have said.

There remain few details about the numbers of people expected to be sent to Rwanda in this first flight, and how they have been identified. Officials said those who will be removed are already in detention, while the government is braced for a flurry of legal challenges over their removal.

“The Home Office has begun issuing formal removal direction letters to those who are set to go to Rwanda where they will be able to rebuild their lives in safety,” a statement from the department said.

It is the next legal step after “notices of intent” were issued to dozens of people who have arrived in the UK by irregular means.

The timing of the announcement will prompt suspicion. It comes amid growing pressure on Boris Johnson for a policy success, amid claims he could face a vote of no confidence as soon as next week.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/31/first-rwanda-deportation-flight-leave-uk-14-june-priti-patel

BBC: First flight taking Channel migrants to Rwanda set for 14 June #Rwanda

The first flight to Rwanda carrying migrants who cross the English Channel is set to leave in two weeks’ time on 14 June, the Home Office has said.

Officials have begun issuing formal directions to the first people set to be flown to the African country.

It is expected there will be legal challenges against the move.

The controversial plan has been criticised by politicians, charities and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who called it “opposite the nature of God”.

Under the five-year trial scheme, some asylum seekers who have arrived in the UK are being sent to Rwanda where their application will be processed.

While their application is considered they will be given accommodation and support and, if successful, they will be able to remain in Rwanda with up to five years’ access to education and support.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61653063


Updated 23 May 2022: Independent: ‘Fundamentally wrong’: Refugee charity prepares legal challenge to UK’s Rwanda asylum plan #Rwanda

Volunteer-led charity Care4Calais are preparing a legal challenge against the government over the Rwanda asylum plan, which will send asylum seekers arriving into the UK to Rwanda for processing and resettlement.

Care4Calais believe the scheme is a breach of the UK’s legal obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Refugee Convention, and are building their challenge on these grounds.

The plan, enacted by Home Secretary Priti Patel, is initially targeted towards small boat male migrant crossings in the English channel, with the first deportation flights set for 6 June 2022.

{Please watch the video]

https://www.independent.co.uk/tv/news/refugee-charity-legal-challenge-rwanda-b2085363.html


Updated 22 May 2022: Guardian: Home Office detains all asylum seekers it plans to send to Rwanda #Rwanda

Department says previously announced option of serving arrivals to UK with notices while living in community has not been used

All the asylum seekers whom ministers want to send to Rwanda have been placed in detention centres after arriving in the UK on small boats, the Home Office has confirmed.

When the government announced its controversial plans last month to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, officials said some of those issued with notices of intent that they would be offshored would be served with the notices while living in the community and would have 14 days to appeal against the decision. About 100 asylum seekers are thought to have been issued with notices of intent so far.

However, the Home Office has confirmed to the Guardian that everyone they want to send to Rwanda has been locked up in detention centres, with the community option not currently being used.

Many who arrive on small boats are in poor physical and mental condition, and some charities have reported that those detained for offshoring are traumatised, bewildered and do not understand what is happening to them.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/22/home-office-asylum-seekers-detention-centres-rwanda


Updated 20 May 2022: Care4Calais: #StopRwanda #Rwanda

The government has announced that it intends to send refugees arriving in the UK to Rwanda by force. We urgently need your help to stop this from happening. Find out how you can help and for the background on why we are doing this.

What you can do to help:
Donate:

Donate to our Crowdfunder for legal fees to challenge the Rwanda plan in court. We are raising funds for our own legal costs, and to protect us from paying the Home Office’s legal fees if the case gets to court and we don’t win.

Share:
Share the leaflets:

Rwanda Leaflet 1 [Pashtu, Arabic, Farsi, Kurdish] Rwanda Leaflet 2 [Tigrinya, French, English, Amharic]

Write To Your MP

You can write to your MP by using our template letter. Simply copy and paste the text that we provide, and then enter your postcode into the box below to contact your local MP.

Demonstrate

On Saturday 18 June join our ‘Stop the Rwanda plan – All Refugees Welcome’ bloc on the TUC demo in London.

When there are social problems in the UK it is inevitable that refugees and migrants will blamed. So we’re taking a message of unity onto the TUCs demo to promote the rights of refugees and oppose attempts to divide ordinary people.

There will be transport from UK regions Join us

Read more: https://care4calais.org/stop-rwanda/


19 May 2022: ITV: Campaigners ‘relieved’ as Rwanda asylum seeker flights delayed until next month #Rwanda

The government has been forced to delay its first deportation flights to Rwanda after campaigners lodged a legal campaign against the controversial policy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last weekend that 50 asylum seekers have already been told they are due to be flown to the East African nation within a fortnight, which would be the end of May, but anticipated opposition to the move.

Campaigners said they received notice on Wednesday evening that the Rwanda flights will now not take place until at least June 6.

It comes as an inquiry is launched into the handling of the deal amid accusations of Parliament being bypassed.

Read more: https://www.itv.com/news/2022-05-19/campaigners-relieved-as-rwanda-asylum-seeker-flights-delayed-until-next-month


ITV: Inquiry launched into handling of controversial UK-Rwanda asylum seekers deal #Rwanda

An inquiry has been launched into the handling of a controversial plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda amid accusations of Parliament being bypassed.

Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, who chairs the International Agreements Committee, lamented how the deal had not been debated or approved by Parliament before it was signed.The House of Lords heard this was because the type of deal, known as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), is not legally binding.

However, peers argued that MoUs should not be used as a way around parliamentary scrutiny.

Labour’s Lady Hayter told the Lords: “Perhaps more importantly and certainly more urgently is the issue of deals being signed by way of Memoranda of Understanding rather than by treaty.

“This means they do not even have to be disclosed to Parliament, let alone laid and debated here.

“I raised this in a private notice question on April 25 in regard to the Rwanda deal – deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.

“That was done by MoU without any debate or approval by Parliament.

“And I can tell the House that just today, this morning, the committee has launched an inquiry on this and we will have a call for evidence on the MoU on our website shortly.”

Read more: https://www.itv.com/news/2022-05-19/inquiry-launched-into-handling-of-controversial-uk-rwanda-asylum-seekers-deal


14 May 2022: BBC: Boris Johnson: Fifty migrants told they will be sent to Rwanda #Rwanda

Fifty migrants have been told they will be the first to be sent to Rwanda in east Africa as part of the government’s controversial resettlement policy.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Boris Johnson revealed the figure, saying he expected a lot of legal opposition but insisted the government would “dig in for the fight”.

Under a new deal, people judged to have entered the UK illegally now face being flown to Rwanda for resettlement.

The policy has been widely criticised.

Among its critics are more than 160 charities, the Archbishop of Canterbury, opposition parties and senior Conservative Party backbenchers, including former Prime Minister Theresa May.

Together they have raised questions about the ethics, legality, cost and efficacy of the policy.

Aid agencies have reported several asylum seekers in the UK going into hiding because of fears they would be sent to Rwanda.

The threat of removal has also prompted some to self-harm, with one attempting suicide, the Red Cross and the Refugee Council said.

Small boat crossings have continued, however. The latest available government figures show 792 migrants arrived in small boats in the week from 2 to 8 May.

Earlier this week, the Home Office said it planned to start informing the first migrants whom it wanted to remove to Rwanda. Among them would be people who had crossed the Channel, the department said.

In his interview, Mr Johnson said 50 “notices of intent” have now been issued. This marks the first stage of the process.

Those people will have between seven and 14 days to lodge objections.

It is widely expected there will be legal challenges to the plans. Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that would mean the process would “take time” but insisted she would not be deterred.

‘Huge flowchart’

Mr Johnson told the Mail: “There’s going to be a lot of legal opposition from the types of firms that for a long time have been taking taxpayers’ money to mount these sort of cases, and to thwart the will of the people, the will of Parliament. We’re ready for that.

“We will dig in for the fight and we will make it work,” he added. “We’ve got a huge flowchart of things we have to do to deal with it, with the leftie lawyers.”

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61447106


Updated 13 May 2022: Please tweet and also use this hashtag #RefugeeMentalHealth This is an open letter written in response to RCGP chair about Rwanda deportation. #Rwanda

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (sic) to do nothing’ are the words of, Edmund Burke, a philosopher that Martin Marshall, RCGP chair, chose to start his recent blog ‘Just Saying,’ calling out the British government on its plan to dispense with asylum seekers by deporting them to Rwanda.1
As GPs and hospital doctors we have been advocating on our migrant patients’ behalf since the early days of the hostile environment in 2015, when the inhumane and unethical NHS charging regulations came into place.

However, we have rarely witnessed our NHS leaders speaking out against these issues.

Read more: https://bjgplife.com/open-letter-to-bjgp-life-a-response-to-rcgp-chairs-just-saying-on-refugees-to-the-uk-being-deported-to-rwanda/


Updated 12 May 2022: Home Affairs Committee: Oral evidence: Asylum and migration, HC ­197 Wednesday 11 May 2022 #Rwanda

Ordered by the House of Commons to be published on 11 May 2022.

Watch the meeting

Witnesses: Tom Pursglove MP, Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Immigration, Home Office; and Dan Hobbs, Director, Asylum, Protection and Enforcement, Home Office.

Examination of witnesses

Witnesses: Tom Pursglove MP and Dan Hobbs.

Q1                Chair: Good morning, and welcome to Home Office Minister Tom Pursglove MP and Dan Hobbs, Director of Asylum, Protection and Enforcement at the Home Office. We are grateful to you both for attending this morning.

Today we want to look specifically at the announcement last month of the UK-Rwanda partnership agreement concerning asylum seekers. We will move on to specific questions about the policy, but I want to start with the actual announcement and the way it was made. The announcement was made on 14 April, which was just at the start of the purdah period for the local elections on 5 May. Minister, could you enlighten us about the exchange of letters between the permanent secretary and the Home Secretary that took place on 13 April, the day before, and concerned the ministerial direction that the permanent secretary sought from the Home Secretary? It all seems very late in the day if the announcement was to be made on 14 April. Could you explain why there was a rush to get the policy out—in particular with no detail?

Tom Pursglove: Thank you, Madam Chairman, for the invitation to appear before the Committee this morning. Can I congratulate you on your appointment to the Chair? It is a privilege to be here and give evidence on this important issue.

Let me just set this in some perspective. As a Government, we have been consistently clear that we cannot continue to have people putting their lives in the hands of evil criminal gangs and paying money to those evil criminal gangs to facilitate these crossings. We have said that we will strain every sinew to put a stop to that evil criminality.

I would argue that it was right that we signed this new partnership at the first opportunity we had to do so. Every day that passes without it is a day when lives can potentially be lost in the channel. We wanted to waste no opportunity to crack on and get on with delivering this partnership. The partnership is complex, of course, and there has been intensive negotiation and discussion around it over the course of the last few months. Those negotiations concluded, at which point we were in a position to get on and sign it. That is precisely why we acted in the way that we did, wasting no opportunity to do that.

Q2                Chair: But there was no detail available, was there? It was the BBC, the Telegraph and The Times that all got briefed on what they thought the policy was. None of that detail was available to Parliament for MPs to look at. I notice that it was only on Monday this week that the Home Office produced documents setting out the detail of the policy. You will understand that there was a lot of concern. A lot of the charities that work with asylum seekers and refugees in this country have raised the problem that by making that announcement on 14 April with no proper detail, you caused a lot of distress and upset. In today’s media round, for example, there was reference to a Rwandan asylum seeker in this country who heard that announcement and thought that would mean he would be sent back to Rwanda. What I do not understand is why you made that announcement on 14 April with no detail about how this policy would work. Why has it taken you three weeks to produce the detail?

Tom Pursglove: You will know, of course, that the announcement was made as part of a wider package of measures that the Prime Minister set out in Kent. Of course, the Home Secretary was in Rwanda at the same time and was able to announce this policy.

Q3                Chair: But where was the detail? That is the issue.

Tom Pursglove: We have taken great care to make sure that the detail underpinning this policy has been made available as far as we are able—

Chair: But three weeks later.

Tom Pursglove: —taking into account, of course, that we do not want—I think you will recognise why this is important—to do anything that aids these evil criminal gangs to exploit vulnerable people. It is right that we tread carefully in delivering the detail of the policy in a way that is sensitive to that and that doesn’t support that sort of criminality, which is so egregious and unacceptable.

Q4                Chair: I understand what you are saying, but the three weeks has caused problems—concern—for asylum seekers in this country, and it just seems to us that Parliament should have had that detail when the announcement was made.

The other point I want to raise with you is about Wendy Williams and her review of how the Home Office operates. One of the things she was very clear about was the Home Office failure, in the past, to always look at the “face behind the case”. This is, again, illustrative of that failure to understand that this is about individuals—about people. By making these announcements giving no detail, you set lots of hares running, but it has taken you three weeks to actually come up with the details.

Read more: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/10195/html/


Updated 10 May 2022: Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration – is publicising a new project: The IAGCI invites tenders to evaluate Home Office Country Information Products on Rwanda (one way to assess the information held by officials about Rwanda) #ICIBI #Rwanda


Potential reviewers are invited to submit expressions of interest by the close of Monday, 30 May 2022.

Description of work:
Country Policy and Information Notes aim to provide an accurate, balanced and up-to-date summary of the key available sources regarding conditions in the country covered. The purpose and scope of the reports are clearly set out in an introductory section of the document. Reviewers should evaluate the reports in this context and seek to identify any areas where they can be improved.

Specifically, the review should entail:

  • assessing the extent to which information from source documents has been appropriately and accurately reflected in the CPIN reports
  • identifying additional sources detailing relevant aspects of current conditions in the country
  • noting and correcting any specific errors or omissions of fact making recommendations for general improvements regarding, for example, the structure of the report, its coverage or its overall approach ensuring no reference is made to an individual source which could expose them to risk

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-iagci-invites-tenders-to-evaluate-home-office-country-information-products-on-rwanda

Guardian: Priti Patel blames lawyers as she admits Rwanda plan will ‘take time’ #Rwanda

Home secretary attacks ‘specialist lawyers’ as Labour calls delayed plan little more than a press release

Priti Patel has admitted that it will take time to establish the government’s high-profile plan to send people who arrive in the UK without authorisation to Rwanda, amid growing suspicion that it will not solve the migration crisis in the Channel.

In a further attack on the legal profession, the home secretary blamed “specialist lawyers” as the main reason for the delays in setting up the scheme.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/may/10/priti-patel-blames-specialist-lawyers-rwanda-plan-delays

The language used in this email from the Home Office is disgraceful, and the spin they put on their plans is not surprising, whilst the idea of removing people to Rwanda is shocking:

Home Office External Affairs – Rwanda press release
From: External Affairs <externalaffairs@homeoffice.gov.uk>
Date: Tue, May 10, 2022 9:57 am
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Good Morning, Last night the Home Office issued the following press notice announcing the first group of illegal migrants with no right to be in the UK will this week be informed of our intention to relocate them to Rwanda under the new Migration and Economic Development Partnership. The government last night published a range of document online, these include:

 Additionally, the release also confirms that this week, the Home Office will start an informal consultation with councils over how a new, fairer asylum dispersal system will operate in their areas in the long-term.  This will mean each area can agree a regional plan that works for them Please find a full copy of the release below. If you are issuing a statement in response, we’d be grateful if we can be signposted to your comment once published. If you have any questions please do let us know. Kind Regards, Aaron. FIRST ILLEGAL MIGRANTS TOLD OF IMPENDING REMOVAL TO RWANDA The first group of illegal migrants with no right to be in the UK will this week be informed of our intention to relocate them to Rwanda under the new Migration and Economic Development Partnership. Migrants who crossed the Channel are among those who will be served with notices and the Government has the power to detain individuals pending their removal from the UK. Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Britain’s asylum system is broken as criminals exploit and smuggle people into our country at huge costs to UK taxpayers. The world-leading migration partnership with Rwanda means those making dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys to the UK may be relocated to Rwanda to have their claims for asylum considered and to rebuild their lives there – helping break the people smugglers’ business model and prevent loss of life. “This is just the first stage of the process and we know it will take time as some will seek to frustrate the process and delay removals. I will not be deterred from acting to deliver on the changes the British people voted for to take back control of our money, laws and borders.” These notifications are the first step in the process and warn migrants they may not be admitted to the UK’s asylum system because they travelled through safe countries where they could and should have claimed asylum. Lawyers representing some of those notified are expected to lodge claims to prevent removal, and as set out when the partnership was first announced, first flights are expected to take place in the coming months. It comes as the Home Office publishes guidance to inform decision-making in the interests of transparency. The guidance published includes a formal, robust and comprehensive assessment of Rwanda, reaffirming that it is a safe country to relocate people to. It is based on a wide range of research, including visits to the country and interviews with independent organisations working there. Notes to Editors

  • The government routinely removes people to other countries for immigration reasons, including foreign national offenders, failed asylum seekers and visa overstayers.
  • Since March 2021 more than 10,000 people have been removed by both scheduled and charter flights, with 78 flights chartered to 13 different countries.
  • Last week a chartered flight to Albania removed foreign national offenders convicted of crimes including firearms and drug offences, assault of an emergency worker and theft, with combined sentences of over 56 years.
  • Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a world-first Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwandan Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-Operation Vincent Biruta in the capital Kigali on Thursday 14 April. 
  • The agreement is uncapped and Rwanda has capacity to resettle tens of thousands of people in the years ahead. Anyone who came to the UK illegally since 1 January 2022 could be considered.
  • Rwanda is a State Party to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the seven core UN Human Rights Conventions.
  • Rwanda: country policy and information notes – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • Inadmissibility: third country cases – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Asylum dispersal

  • On Wednesday 13 April, the Home Office announced that all local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales will be expected to be asylum dispersal areas and they will receive new government funding.  
  • This week, Home Office will start an informal consultation with councils over how a new, fairer asylum dispersal system will operate in their areas in the long-term.  This will mean each area can agree a regional plan that works for them

Updated 9 May 2022: Guardian: First refugees to be told this week of their relocation to Rwanda #Rwanda

Arrivals who crossed Channel will be notified of Home Office plan to send them to nation to make asylum claims

The first group of people will be informed this week of the government’s intention to send them to Rwanda under its controversial relocation scheme, the Home Office has said.

Under plans announced last month, people arriving illegally in the UK via Channel crossings and other routes will be detained and sent to the east African nation to apply for asylum there.

The government has said it expects tens of thousands of people to be relocated under the scheme, although the plans face legal challenges from charities and campaign groups.

The Home Office has said that people who arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel will be among the first group notified that it plans to send them to Rwanda. It added that it expects the first flights to take place in the coming months.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/09/first-refugees-to-be-toldd-this-week-of-their-relocation-to-rwanda


The Article: Priti and the people smugglers #Rwanda

Priti Patel’s announcement that Rwanda was to be given £120 million for accepting deported migrants and refugees has not gone down well. But, undeterred, the Prime Minister has said he will get it done. For a moment let’s take at face value the Government’s response to the widespread outcry.

[…] With the Home Office prediction of only 300 deportations to Rwanda annually and with forthcoming legal challenges, Ms Patel’s money-for-migrants partnership seems unlikely to be implemented. The judges and “Left-wing lawyers” will be blamed when it is stopped. And Government headline-grabbing will continue: irresponsible, deceptive and shameless.

Read more: https://www.thearticle.com/priti-and-the-people-smugglers



Guardian: Why we confronted Priti Patel about her inhumane ‘Rwanda plan’ at a Tory dinner by Holly Hudson #Rwanda

The government has a responsibility to help people seeking refuge, not detain them 4,000 miles away

  • Holly Hudson is an organiser with Green New Deal Rising

On Friday night, I and several others went undercover to a crowded dinner party held by the Bassetlaw Conservatives Association and challenged the home secretary, Priti Patel, on her inhumane “Rwanda plan” to process refugees offshore. The newspapers called us a “mob”, but I know that we were simply standing up for what is right.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/09/priti-patel-inhumane-rwanda-plan-tory-dinner

Updated 7 May 2022: Guardian: Activists disrupt Priti Patel speech in protest against Rwanda refugee plan #Rwanda

Green New Deal Rising campaigners were escorted from the dinner to chants of ‘out, out, out’

A speech by the home secretary, Priti Patel, was disrupted on Friday evening after pro-refugee activists infiltrated a Conservative party “spring dinner”.

Eight young social justice and climate campaigners from Green New Deal Rising disrupted the Bassetlaw Conservative Association Spring Dinner and demanded she drop controversial plans to offshore asylum seekers to Rwanda.

As Patel started to address the party faithful, activists stood up, one by one, to condemn the offshoring plans and called on Patel to abandon them.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/07/social-justice-activists-disrupt-priti-patel-speech-to-protest-rwanda-refugee-plan


Updated 4 May 2022: Politics Home: As a refugee myself, I know the government’s Rwanda plan will only lead to more tragedy #Rwanda

“Never give up on your dreams.” That’s the saying. But I lost my job, my family – everything – in the blink of an eye.

I was forced to flee Iran, the country I grew up in, because of my political activities as a member of the Kurdish minority. The journey I was forced to take left me scarred for life, and the most dangerous part of it was crossing the English Channel in a small boat. It was so foggy we could barely see.  

The government has said it will start sending single men, like me, who arrive this way to Rwanda. It claims this will cut off the hands of smugglers, but the reality is this will only punish people who are seeking sanctuary.  

When I claimed asylum, the authorities sent me to the Penally Barracks. This controversial ex-military site in Wales felt like a prison. To end up there, after having just fled prison and death, felt both ridiculous and at the same time scary and traumatic. In the drawings I made at the time, I showed how I felt about the situation.  

Read more: https://www.politicshome.com/thehouse/article/as-a-refugee-myself-i-know-the-governments-rwanda-plan-will-only-lead-to-more-tragedy


29 April 2022: Morning Star: Patel’s Rwanda deal already causing ‘immense harm’ to asylum-seekers #Rwanda

The Star speaks with refugees who have run away from hostels over fears of being deported

PRITI PATEL’S Rwanda deal is already causing “immense harm” to asylum-seekers in Britain – with some running away from hostels over fears of being deported, the Morning Star has learned.

The Star spoke to two asylum-seekers who decided to flee their accommodation following the Home Secretary’s announcement two weeks ago.

Despite the risks of leaving Home Office accommodation, including becoming destitute and vulnerable to exploitation, both said they would prefer to sleep on the streets in the UK than risk being sent to Rwanda.

“I’ve already had a war in my country, I came all this way to seek refuge to have peace of mind,” Asif*, a Syrian national who came to Britain by small boat earlier this year, said.

“Now we don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s inhumane.”

Under the deal, asylum-seekers who arrived in Britain after January 1 in small boats across the Channel could be deported on a one-way ticket to Rwanda to claim asylum there.

The Home Office claims people sent to Rwanda would be provided with safe accommodation, food, healthcare, translators and access to legal support, but the policy has been widely condemned and is now subject to two legal challenges, launched this week.

Mahir*, also from Syria, spoke of living in a state of fear since the deal was announced. “I left the hotel because of my fears of the government’s decision,” he told the Star.

“In Syria we didn’t go out of our houses because we are always frightened. If I left my home for even five minutes, a police car would come and take me either to the army or prison straight away.

“When I came to Britain I felt safe and at home here, I could go out of the house at midnight or anytime [and] no-one would bother me.

“Now I am always frightened going out, walking around the street, communicating with people, because I don’t know what is going to happen in the next hour, the next second.

“When I heard about this decision I even thought about suicide. Taking me to Rwanda will affect me and if I didn’t take my life here I would do it in Rwanda.”

Mahir is now staying with a friend, but says he cannot stay there long. Both asylum-seekers are waiting to see whether the Rwanda deal will be dropped, after which time they hope they can resume their asylum cases.

Kenan, a co-founder of the refugee-led charity Life Seekers Aid, told the Star he knows of “many” asylum-seekers who have left hotels for the same reason: “They are terrified of being moved out to Africa, to Rwanda.”

Even asylum-seekers who arrived before January 1 fear they could be targeted and are among those who have gone into hiding, Kenan says.

“The Home Office is converting them from asylum-seekers to illegal immigrants,” he said.

“They are now undocumented people in this country.”

Refugee rights charities have also highlighted that while no-one has yet been sent to Rwanda, the announcement alone has had a “catastrophic” impact on asylum-seekers’ wellbeing.

“Families are scared and anxious to leave their homes, and even people who claimed asylum years ago are worried that they may be targeted for deportation,” Refugee Action’s Mohamed Omar said.

Humans for Rights Network director Maddie Harris told the Star: “I think the policy, in advance of anybody going there, is already causing immense harm [not only because of] people feeling unwelcome and unwanted but also being absolutely terrified that they are at risk of being sent to Rwanda.

Read more: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/patel-rwanda-deal-already-causing-immense-harm-to-asylum-seekers


How can this be right! Offshoring people to Rwanda. What you can do: petitions to sign, letter to your MP, demonstrations: #Rwanda

Write to your MP: Rainbow Migration have a template letter you can use to urge the Government not to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. Write to your MP now.

Updated 28 April 2022: Guardian: Priti Patel’s Rwanda asylum seeker plan faces first legal challenge #Rwanda

Charity Freedom from Torture says it has ‘serious concerns’ about lawfulness of policy

Priti Patel’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is facing its first legal challenge after a charity instructed lawyers to demand the disclosure of documents because of fears the policy is contrary to international law.

In a pre-action letter to the Home Office, which is expected to lead to a judicial review claim, the solicitors Leigh Day stated that the charity Freedom from Torture “has serious concerns about the lawfulness of the policy”.

It has requested “disclosure of information regarding the policy”, including documents outlining it, risk assessments and the memorandum of understanding signed by the UK and Rwandan governments.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/apr/27/priti-patel-faces-legal-challenge-over-rwanda-asylum-seeker-plan


Updated 23 April 2022: Guardian: Rwanda genocide survivors moved out of hostel so Priti Patel could inspect it

Residents sent on awayday during the home secretary’s visit, and some fear losing their home to asylum seekers from the UK

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/23/rwanda-genocide-survivors-moved-out-of-hostel-so-priti-patel-could-inspect-it


Independent: Rwanda ‘more akin to detention camp than sovereign state’, says ex-ambassador

Senior Conservative MPs have also questioned the logic behind the Nationality and Borders Bill.

A former Rwandan ambassador to the US has warned the Government that the East African country is “more akin to a detention camp than a state where the people are sovereign”, as controversial immigration reforms edge closer to becoming law.

Theogene Rudasingwa, who was the country’s representative in the US from 1996 to 1999, has been in exile in America since 2004 after falling out with Rwandan president Paul Kagame.

The British Government has said it trusts Rwanda to treat the asylum seekers sent there humanely, Dr Rudasingwa said.

“As a Rwandan with decades of political and diplomatic experience my view is that under the regime of President Kagame such trust is unfounded,” Dr Rudasingwa said.

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/rwanda-british-government-mps-conservative-bob-neill-b2063821.html


21 April 2022Re: Rwanda. The discussion on radio 4 last week with David Aaronovitch suggested the scheme is unworkable, also that when Israel used a similar one in 2014 most refugees who were taken there left the country as fast as possible and the scheme was abandoned. You can listen to it on BBC sounds here


Updated 21 April 2022: Open democracy: The Rwanda deal is yet another act of colonial violence

Priti Patel’s new policy is extreme, but Britain’s borders were designed to protect the spoils of empire. The whole system needs to be challenged

[…] Granted, this bill, and this government, are radically violent. But all borders are violent: that’s what they’re for. Borders are at the heart of a political economy rooted in colonialism. And the outsourcing of border control – with all the death and suffering that entails – is a defining feature of global capitalism today.

Read more: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/patel-rwanda-asylum-borders-colonial/


Guardian: Priti Patel asylum plan ‘not racist or illegal’, civil servants told

[…] Home Office official seeks to reassure staff over refugees to Rwanda scheme as union considers action over ‘callous policy’

In a sign of the deep level of anger within the Home Office about the asylum plan, staff members suggested the policy was racist, unethical and would inevitably face scrutiny by an inquiry. Many submitted their thoughts anonymously ahead of the online meeting with Rycroft.

Among the questions posed were whether any lessons had been learned from the Windrush scandal, and if Ukrainian refugees would also be sent to Rwanda or was it “only people of colour?”

One read: “How can we seriously say in one breath that we are committed to righting the wrongs of Windrush, then in the next say that we are sending migrants thousands of miles to Rwanda for ‘processing’?”

Other comments suggested Home Office staff wanted to quit their job in protest.

One read: “As our CS [civil services] leaders, how are you planning to ensure the HO [Home Office] keeps its good people? Personally, this policy makes me want to move department or outside of government.”

Another asked: “How are we (HO staff) supposed to defend the organisation against the charge that this decision is/seems racist? (Both in terms of difference from Ukraine reaction, and in terms of colonial overtones).”

All the messages had more than 100 “thumbs up” notifications from colleagues.

The question with the highest number of thumbs up – 224 in total – came from a civil servant saying in a post: “Somewhere down the road, when the inevitable what went wrong with Rwandan outsourcing inquiry takes place, the Home Office cannot say that nobody spoke up at the time. We’re speaking up. This is a bad idea – don’t do it! I think a lot of staff feel this way. Can this be escalated?”

It emerged on Sunday that Rycroft had refused to sign off Patel’s plans, claiming that he could not be sure it would provide value for money to the taxpayer. However, sources said he was “fully supportive” of the policy in the online meeting while flanked by other officials. He criticised leaks of the questions posed by staff, saying it was a breach of the civil service code.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/apr/21/priti-patel-asylum-plan-not-racist-or-civil-servants-told


Independent: Thank heavens for Justin Welby: the Church has a duty to speak truth to power

The Church risks expiring unless it remains relevant. Speaking out on behalf of the vulnerable or voiceless is a decent place to start

Boris Johnson has compared his Christian faith to trying to get Virgin Radio while driving through the Chilterns. “It sort of comes and goes,” he said.

It was a joke borrowed from one of his predecessors, David Cameron, and as such it never quite seemed to ring true. But there’s no challenging the genuine strength of feeling in the government about the archbishop of Canterbury’s intervention over immigration.

An unholy row has erupted after Justin Welby’s Easter Day sermon in which he raised “serious ethical questions” about the home secretary’s plan to dispatch unauthorised asylum seekers to Rwanda, describing the policy as “the opposite of the nature of God”.Which of the following brands, if any, do you remember seeing advertising for in the last 30days?Premier InnTravelodgeHoliday InnHilton HotelsIbisNone of these

Reports emanating from a subsequent meeting of Conservative MPs suggested Boris Johnson accused Justin Welby of being “less vociferous” in his condemnation of Vladimir Putin than of the British government.

There hasn’t been much Christian charity between No 10 and Lambeth Palace since, with the Church accusing Downing Street of a “disgraceful slur”. A Lambeth Palace spokesperson pointed out that Welby had described Russian atrocities as the “obscene killing of God’s precious children”.

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/justin-welby-church-boris-johnson-slur-b2062306.html


20 April 2022: Washington Post: Why Britain’s deal with Rwanda on migrants is so repulsive:

Both countries have their reasons for an agreement to relocate migrants, but those don’t include the welfare of thousands of vulnerable people.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/04/20/britain-rwanda-refugees-trafficking-resettlement-deal/


Updated 17 April 2022: No to offshoring! Stop Government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Please help by signing the petition now. No to offshoring! Stop Government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

No to offshoring! Stop Government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The Government have announced plans to send those who cross the channel seeking refuge and asylum 4,500 miles away to Rwanda for ‘processing’. 

Those making the perilous journey across the channel will be taken to an RAF base in Yorkshire before being flown to Rwanda, where they will be sent to asylum camps and resettled there.  It’s going to cost £120 million to do.

The Government’s plan to offshore asylum processing for those who have fled war, violence, famine and persecution is inhumane and cruel. It is an extraordinary dereliction of our duty and our legal obligations – washing our hands of some of those most in need at huge expense. 

This plan violates the principle of the UN convention ( of which the UK was a founding signatory) which states that we must “grant people a fair hearing on UK soil”.*

In Australia, they have run a similar scheme of sending refugees to camps overseas, and it is reported to have led to people experiencing “rampant abuse” as well as “rape, murder and suicide.” How have our government not learned the lessons from this?*

To add to this, Rwanda, as Amnesty International has pointed out, has an abysmal record on Human Rights and as recently as last year a Rwandan national was granted asylum in the UK after they fled persecution there. In 2018, Rwandan National Police shot and killed Congolese refugees protesting mistreatment and poor conditions. They arrested a further 60. 

This horrific plan will only cause further suffering and torture to refugees and asylum seekers. It cannot be allowed to go ahead. 

We call on the Government to stop this disastrous plan, to say no to offshoring and to cancel the deal.

Please help by signing the petition now. https://www.change.org/p/no-to-offshoring-tell-pritipatel-to-stop-plans-to-send-asylum-seekers-to-rwanda


Independent: Tory MP accuses archbishop of ‘wanting to live with law-breaking’ after Rwanda asylum criticism

Justin Welby says there are ‘serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas’

Delivering his Easter Sunday sermon, the head of the Church of England criticised the plan to send some asylum seekers on a one-way ticket over 4,000 miles away to the east African country.

In a scathing intervention, Archbishop Welby accused the government of “sub-contracting” its responsibilities, adding there were “serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas”.

Speaking at Canterbury Cathedral, Mr Welby said the measures “cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values”.

He added: “The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgment of God, and it cannot.

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/justin-welby-rwanda-conservative-mp-speech-b2059645.html


BBC: Rwanda asylum plan: Justin Welby raises ‘serious ethical questions’

https://emp.bbc.co.uk/emp/SMPj/2.44.14/iframe.htmlRwanda asylum plan: Justin Welby raises ‘serious ethical questions’Close

The Archbishop of Canterbury has used his Easter sermon to condemn the government’s plans to send asylum seekers in the UK to Rwanda.

Justin Welby told the congregation at Canterbury Cathedral that “subcontracting out our responsibilities” goes against Christian values.

“As a policy it privileges the rich and the strong,” he said.

He recognised Rwanda’s good intentions with its part in the plans, but said that responsibility for the asylum seekers lies with the UK.


BBC: Patel warned of uncertainty over Rwanda plan’s deterrent effect

Priti Patel’s top civil servant warned her there was not enough evidence of the “deterrent effect” of the plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

In a letter, Matthew Rycroft said the policy’s value for money relied on it reducing illegal Channel crossings.

He said while there was not “sufficient evidence” of the scheme’s benefits, that did not mean it would not work.

The home secretary replied it would be “imprudent” to allow a lack of modelling to delay the scheme.

The exchange between Ms Patel and her permanent secretary was published by the Home Office after it emerged she had issued a rare “ministerial direction” to push through the plans, meaning she takes personal responsibility for it.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-61133983


16 April 2022:

do not piss on me and tell me its raining: speech from todays protests – Loraine Masiya Mponela from CARAG

Updated 16 April 2022: Guardian: Refugee who fled torture in Rwanda attacks UK asylum deal

Journalist who sought safety in Britain still in fear for his life after his paper criticised President Kagame

“Rwanda is a good country for image, but not for freedom of speech. I’m really shocked that the offshoring to Rwanda is happening. It is like selling people. It’s really shameful for a country like the UK to be doing this. It’s like a business,” he said.

“People will suffer there but it won’t stop the smuggling gangs. I believe asylum seekers will get bad treatment in Rwanda. I live outside London because the Rwandan embassy is in London and I don’t want to be near them. So many Rwandans who have left the country live in fear wherever they are.”

He said he was scared of what would happen to him if he was ever sent back to Rwanda. “Those who oppose Kagame end up in prison. The Rwandan government use torture and violence against their opponents.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/apr/16/refugee-who-fled-torture-in-rwanda-attacks-uk-asylum-deal


Guardian: Priti Patel could face Home Office mutiny over Rwanda asylum plan

Unions say civil servants could stage mass walkouts after home secretary overruled their concerns

Priti Patel could face a Home Office mutiny over plans to process migrants 5,000 miles away in Rwanda after overruling officials to push through the scheme.

The home secretary issued a rare ministerial direction to overrule concerns of civil servants about whether the scheme would deliver value for money.

It is only the second ministerial direction – an order enforced by a minister despite objection from a permanent secretary – the Home Office has received in 30 years. The first was to speed up the Windrush compensation scheme before legislation.

Civil servants could stage mass walk-outs in protest against the new plans, unions have warned.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/apr/16/priti-patel-home-office-mutiny-rwanda-asylum-plan


BBC: Patel personally approved Rwanda plan launch after civil servant concerns

Priti Patel had to personally approve a scheme to send some asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda after her officials voiced concern over value for money.

The home secretary issued a rare “ministerial direction” to push through the plans, meaning she takes responsibility for it.

It is only the second time the Home Office has used the power in 30 years.

A union for top civil servants said the plan was “divisive” but officials would have to implement it or leave.

FDA general secretary Dave Penman told BBC News: “Civil servants know their job is to support the government of the day. They sign up for that knowing they might not like what the government does.

“On the more divisive policies, which this clearly is, they face a choice – implement or leave. That could mean elsewhere in the Home Office, another department, or the service.”

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, which also represents civil servants, said: “For the government to attempt to claim this is anything other than utterly inhumane is sheer hypocrisy.

“We have already seen that they are prepared to risk lives by turning boats back in the channel – a policy which we have had to take them to court over. It is a heartless approach that displays total disregard for human life which everyone must oppose.”

[…] Last year, the UK government raised concerns at the UN about claims of “extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances and torture” in Rwanda, as well as restrictions to civil and political rights.

But a Home Office spokeswoman said Rwanda was a “safe and secure country with a track record of supporting asylum seekers” and that under the plans, the country would “process claims in accordance with the UN Refugee convention, national and international laws”.

Read more: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61126360


Guardian: Peers will fight UK government’s ‘awful’ Rwanda plans, says Lord Dubs

Exclusive: Alf Dubs, former child refugee, says sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is effectively ‘state-sponsored trafficking’

Ministers will face a fierce battle in parliament over plans to force some asylum seekers to be relocated to Rwanda, a Labour peer and former child refugee has vowed.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/apr/16/peers-will-fight-uk-governments-awful-rwanda-plans-says-lord-dubs


Updated 16 April 2022: Join a demonstration:Glasgow: 11am, Saturday 16 April: Where: George Square, Glasgow – more info

Offshoring to Rwanda: Demonstration in Glasgow at 11am on 16 April 2022

Birmingham:
Manchester:
Coventry

16 April, 11amGeorge Square Glasgowhttps://twitter.com/pinar_aksu5/status/1514528201002860545 
16 April, 12 PMCoventry broadgatehttps://www.facebook.com/events/670544834239790/ 
16 april, 1PMBirmingham Centenary squareCalled by Stand up to Racism. 
16 April, 12PMNottingham Brian Clough Statuehttps://www.facebook.com/events/508953367529925/ 

15 April 2022: World News: Rwanda migrants – latest: Rory Stewart calls plans ‘disturbing’ as Boris Johnson prepares for legal wrangle

Keir Starmer says Rwanda asylum plan will cost taxpayers ‘billions of pounds’

Rory Stewart has slammed the announcement that asylum seekers will be sent to Rwanda as “very strange and very disturbing”, adding he does not believe anyone will actually be sent there.

“I don’t like what they are doing in Rwanda, I think they are offshoring a British problem and they’re trying to put it out of sight and out of mind,” the former Africa minister said.

“It’s very strange and very disturbing.

“I was in Rwanda two weeks ago. There are many things that are positive, as you know, about Rwanda. It’s come out of a genocide, it’s gone through an extraordinary process of national healing, but it’s also an authoritarian state.”

Elsewhere, prime minister Boris Johnson today said the partnership with Rwanda will be “fully compliant with our international legal obligations”, while insisting it is “one of the safest countries in the world”.

“But nevertheless, we expect this will be challenged in the courts,” Mr Johnson added, as he hit out at what he called a “formidable army of politically motivated lawyers”.

https://theworldnews.net/gb-news/rwanda-migrants-latest-rory-stewart-calls-plans-disturbing-as-boris-johnson-prepares-for-legal-wrangle


Memorandum of Understanding between the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the government of the Republic of Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership arrangement

2 Objectives

2.1 The objective of this Arrangement is to create a mechanism for the relocation of asylum seekers whose claims are not being considered by the United Kingdom, to Rwanda, which will process their claims and settle or remove (as appropriate) individuals after their claim is decided, in accordance with Rwanda domestic law, the Refugee Convention, current international standards, including in accordance with international human rights law and including the assurances given under this Arrangement.

2.2 For the avoidance of doubt, the commitments set out in this Memorandum are made by the United Kingdom to Rwanda and vice versa and do not create or confer any right on any individual, nor shall compliance with this Arrangement be justiciable in any court of law by third-parties or individuals.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3uNf5dR


14 April 2022: Birmingham Post: Birmingham charities slam ‘inhumane’ deal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

Charities have blasted the proposals saying they would ‘turn people into human cargo’

Nazek Ramadan, director of the organisation, said: “The Government is seeking, by any means and at almost any cost, to avoid its international responsibilities while demanding other countries take theirs.
“It would effectively end the UK’s participation in the United Nations Refugee Convention, moving Britain away from protecting refugees to deterring them. Much of the Government’s rhetoric is about legal routes for those seeking asylum, but safe legal routes are not available to all who need them. The legal routes are selective, limited and restricted..” https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-charities-slam-inhumane-deal-23689498


JCWI: Unspeakably cruel new plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

Today the Government is announcing a deal to ship off asylum seekers to Rwanda.

These unspeakably cruel plans play fast and loose with the lives of refugees and will put people in danger. The situation in Rwanda for LGBTQI+ people, for example, is so poor that the UK accepts Rwandan refugees on the basis of their sexuality.

The deal will also fuel the smuggling trade, as people make new journeys to safety. A similar deal made by Israel with Rwanda in 2013 led to refugees being detained, beaten up in prison, and ultimately paying smugglers to escape Rwanda and make a new journey to safety.

We have seen from the outpouring of support towards Ukrainians and Afghans that the British public welcome refugees.

It’s time to build a decent asylum system that is accessible, and works fast to help people build new lives here in safety.

Join a demonstration:

London 6pm, Thursday 14 April, Outside the Home Office on Marsham Street, London (see map)

Glasgow: 11am, Saturday 16 April: Where: George Square, Glasgow – more info

Write to your MP: Rainbow Migration have a template letter you can use to urge the Government not to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. Write to your MP now.


Detention Forum: URGENT: This Government plans to send people to offshore detention camps in Rwanda

This is urgent. On Thursday the 14th of April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that his Government has signed a contract with Rwanda to build offshore detention camps there, where he will lock up people seeking asylum.

We have a chance to stop this, but we need your help.

Wherever it happens, offshore detention is designed to treat people seeking asylum with such cruelty and inhumanity that they return to the countries they fled.

The Rwandan government has a disturbing record of repression and human rights abuses. Rwandan police shot Refugees protesting against poor conditions in the camps there. In Rwandan detention centres people – including women and children – have been locked in filthy, crowded cells, and beaten by guards. https://detentionaction.e-activist.com/page/103976/donate/1


ripples: Stop Priti Patel’s offshore refugee camps

Refugees arriving in Britain will be flown to offshore “processing” centres in Rwanda, the government has announced.

The plan is modelled on Australia’s brutal network of offshore camps – widely condemned by human rights groups as at least 12 people died and many more suffered abuse.

According to Human Rights Watch, detainees in Rwanda have suffered from ill-treatment and even torture. The UN refugee agency UNHCR has also criticised the plan, saying it does not support any plans to transfer refugees offshore.

The scheme will also cost over £120 million – enough money to give every refugee in Britain a decent life, instead of spending it on imprisoning them.

It is the latest version of government plans that have failed multiple times before with various possible offshore detention locations, from the remote, volcanic Ascension Island to the use of disused ferries as prison ships.

This plan manages to combine being inhumane and cruel with being unworkable. It must be dropped immediately, this time for good.


SNN signatory Migrant Voice: From protection to deterrence

The UK Government’s plan to turn people into human cargo and send them against their will to Rwanda is chilling.

It would effectively end the UK’s participation in the United Nations Refugee Convention, moving Britain away from protecting refugees to deterring them.

The Government is seeking, by any means and at almost any cost, to avoid its international responsibilities while demanding other countries take theirs.

Much of the Government’s rhetoric is about legal routes for those seeking asylum, but safe legal routes are not available to all who need them. The legal routes are selective, limited and restricted. Even those set up for Ukrainians and Afghans have not been functioning properly.

If the plan to move people the UK doesn’t want to Rwanda is implemented, where does it end? Who will be next on the list for exile? 

A complete reset in thinking is required. Scrap the mean-spirited, inhumane approach encapsulated in the “hostile environment”, and replace it with a positive mindset that seeks to help people in need and fulfils our international responsibilities.

Ukraine shows it can be done: under public pressure the Government admitted the cruelty of its red-tape restrictions, stopped directing refugees to Calais and at least began the process of facilitating passage to Britain. 

It should be doing the same for others looking for safety, whatever their skin colour or religion.

Read more: https://www.migrantvoice.org/home/editorials/from-protection-to-deterrence-140422155031


The Guardian: Boris Johnson says tens of thousands could be sent to Rwanda under relocation plan for asylum seekers – UK politics live

The Home Office has released a press release about the deal with Rwanda. It confirms, as Mark Easton said on the BBC this morning (see 9.11am), that people being sent to Rwanda will just get a “one-way ticket”.

The government has been floating the prospect of offshore processing for asylum seekers for some time, but the assumption had been that people might be flown offshore (ie, to a country abroad) to have their claims for asylum in the UK processed, with those found to qualify eventually being allowed to return. Under this plan, people would instead only be offered the chance to seek asylum in Rwanda.

Here is an extract from the briefing.

Migrants who make dangerous or illegal journeys, such as by small boat or hidden in lorries, have their asylum claim processed in Rwanda. Those whose claims are accepted will then be supported to build a new and prosperous life in one of the fastest-growing economies, recognised globally for its record on welcoming and integrating migrants.

Under this partnership the UK is investing £120 million into the economic development and growth of Rwanda. Funding will also be provided to support the delivery of asylum operations, accommodation and integration, similar to the costs incurred in the UK for these services.

There were reports this morning that the plan would only apply to adult males. But the Home Office press release implies any asylum seekers arriving in the UK on small boats could be sent to Rwanda.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/apr/14/uk-politics-live-boris-johnson-asylum-seekers-rwanda-plan-provokes-fury-priti-patel-latest-updates


From ITV reporter: https://twitter.com/AnushkaAsthana


Factsheet: Migration and Economic Development Partnership

Posted by:Home Office news team

On Thursday 14 April, the UK and Rwanda announced a new Migration and Economic Development Partnership to redress the imbalance between illegal and legal migration routes.

The Partnership will see those travelling to the UK through illegal, dangerous or unnecessary methods considered for relocation to Rwanda, where they will have their asylum claim processed. Those whose claims for protection are rejected will either be offered the chance to stay in Rwanda or return to their home country – they will not return to the UK once their claims have been decided by Rwanda.

Read more: https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2022/04/14/factsheet-migration-and-economic-development-partnership/


Human Rights Watch: World Report 2022: Rwanda

The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) continued to stifle dissenting and critical voices and to target those perceived as a threat to the government and their family members. The space for political opposition, civil society, and media remained closed. Several high-profile critics, including opposition members and commentators using social media or YouTube to express themselves, went missing, were arrested or threatened. Arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, and torture in official and unofficial detention facilities was commonplace, and fair trial standards were routinely flouted in cases deemed sensitive. There were credible reports of arbitrary detention and mistreatment of people accused of “deviant behaviors,” including street children, sex workers and petty vendors. 

POLITICAL REPRESSION 

The political and civic space in Rwanda remain closed. Christopher Kayumba, the former editor of The Chronicles newspaper, established a new political party, the Rwandese Platform for Democracy (RDP), in March. This followed the publication of an open letter in which Kayumba criticized President Paul Kagame’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis, its impact on the population, and denounced the existence of “safe houses,” where detainees are routinely held illegally and tortured. Shortly afterwards, allegations of rape and “sexual misconduct” were brought against him, and he was arrested in September. He began a hunger strike a few days after his arrest to protest the “politically-motivated” charges and had to be transferred to hospital for treatment. He was transferred to Nyarugenge prison in Kigali after his bail application was denied in October.  

Other political opposition figures, such as Victoire Ingabire, continued to face obstruction in their work, including threats and harassment by authorities. Authorities detained 10 people around “Ingabire Day,” an event scheduled for October 14 and organized by the unregistered opposition Dalfa-Umurinzi party to discuss, among other things, political repression in Rwanda. At the time of writing, seven party members, and a YouTube blogger were charged with several offenses including “spreading rumors”, “spreading false information with intent to create a hostile international opinion against the Rwandan state,” and “causing uprising or unrest among the population.” 

The September conviction and 25-year sentence of critic and political opponent Paul Rusesabagina on charges including murder and membership in a terrorist group after a flawed trial was emblematic of the government’s overreach and manipulation of the justice system. Rusesabagina was forcibly disappeared and unlawfully returned to Rwanda in August 2020. His trial was marred with fair trial and due process rights violations

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Read more: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2022/country-chapters/rwanda


Human Rights Watch – HRW: UK Plan to Ship Asylum Seekers to Rwanda is Cruelty Itself

Government Continues to Rip Up its Duties to Asylum Seekers

Shirking its obligations to persons seeking asylum at its shores, the UK government has today signed an agreement with Rwanda to send asylum seekers crossing the English Channel there.

Under the new Asylum Partnership Arrangement, people arriving in the UK irregularly or who arrived irregularly since January 1, 2022 may be sent to Rwanda on a one-way ticket to have their asylum claim processed and, if recognized as refugees, to be granted refugee status there.

The UK is arguing that offshoring asylum seekers to Rwanda complies with its international legal obligations. However, offshore processing is not only cruel and ineffective, but also very likely to be unlawful. It creates a two-tiered refugee system that discriminates against one group based on their mode of arrival, despite refugee status being grounded solely on the threat of persecution or serious harm and international standards recognizing that asylum seekers are often compelled to cross borders irregularly to seek protection.

We have seen the severe abuses resulting from offshore processing. Australia’s offshore detention regime on Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, caused more than eight years of immense human suffering. Twelve people have died since the policy began in 2013. Men, women, and children have suffered inhumane treatment and medical neglect, and years of indefinite detention led to suicides and an epidemic of self-harm. The costs were also exorbitant. Detaining a single asylum seeker on Papua New Guinea or Nauru cost around AUD $3.4 million (GBP£1.8 million) annually.

Furthermore, Rwanda’s appalling human rights record is well documented. In 2018, Rwandan security forces shot dead at least 12 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo when they protested a cut to food rations. Authorities then arrested and prosecuted over 60 of them on charges including rebellion and “spreading false information with intent to create a hostile international opinion against the Rwandan state.” Rwanda has a known track record of extrajudicial killings, suspicious deaths in custody, unlawful or arbitrary detention, torture, and abusive prosecutions, particularly targeting critics and dissidents. In fact, the UK directly raised its concerns about respect for human rights with Rwanda, and grants asylum to Rwandans who have fled the country, including four just last year.

At a time when the people of the UK have opened their hearts and homes to Ukrainians, the government is choosing to act with cruelty and rip up their obligations to others fleeing war and persecution.

Read more: https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/04/14/uk-plan-ship-asylum-seekers-rwanda-cruelty-itself


Guardian: Rwanda: human rights fears in nation whose leader faces murder claims

Paul Kagame, president of nation where UK plans to send asylum seekers, accused of seeking to assassinate opponents

Rwanda, Priti Patel’s planned destination for the processing of migrants arriving in the UK, is a largely rural east African country whose authoritarian president, Paul Kagame, has been accused of seeking to assassinate opponents.

The mountainous and landlocked country of 12 million, which witnessed an appalling genocide in 1994 in which 800,000 people were killed in 100 days, has been a recipient of generous development aid in the decades since.

Kagame has been feted by supporters in the west for his role in ending the genocide and for reducing poverty, though some critics have questioned the statistics.

But his leadership has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, especially over accusations that he orchestrated the kidnapping and murdering of his political opponents in order to eliminate challengers to his rule – accusations he denies.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/14/rwanda-human-rights-fears-paul-kagame


UNHCR: UN Refugee Agency opposes UK plan to export asylum

Following public announcements made today, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, expressed strong opposition and concerns about the United Kingdom’s plan to export its asylum obligations and urged the UK to refrain from transferring asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda for asylum processing.

“UNHCR remains firmly opposed to arrangements that seek to transfer refugees and asylum seekers to third countries in the absence of sufficient safeguards and standards. Such arrangements simply shift asylum responsibilities, evade international obligations, and are contrary to the letter and spirit of the Refugee Convention,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs.

“People fleeing war, conflict and persecution deserve compassion and empathy. They should not be traded like commodities and transferred abroad for processing.”

UNHCR urged both countries to re-think the plans. It also warned that instead of deterring refugees from resorting to perilous journeys, these externalization arrangements will only magnify risks, causing refugees to seek alternative routes, and exacerbating pressures on frontline states.

While Rwanda has generously provided a safe haven to refugees fleeing conflict and persecution for decades, the majority live in camps with limited access to economic opportunities. UNHCR believes that wealthier nations must show solidarity in supporting Rwanda and the refugees it already hosts, and not the other way around.

The UK has an obligation to ensure access to asylum for those seeking protection. Those who are determined to be refugees can be integrated, while those who are not and have no other legal basis to stay, can be returned in safety and dignity to their country of origin.

Instead, the UK is adopting arrangements that abdicate responsibility to others and thus threaten the international refugee protection regime, which has stood the test of time, and saved millions of lives over the decades.

The UK has supported UNHCR’s work many times in the past and is providing important contributions that help protect refugees and support countries in conflicts such as Ukraine. However, financial support abroad for certain refugee crises cannot replace the responsibility of States and the obligation to receive asylum seekers and protect refugees on their own territory – irrespective of race, nationality and mode of arrival.

While UNHCR recognizes the challenges posed by forced displacement, developed countries are host to only a fraction of the world’s refugees and are well resourced to manage claims for asylum in a humane, fair and efficient manner.

Read more: https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2022/4/62585e814/un-refugee-agency-opposes-uk-plan-export-asylum.html