We are disappointed by today’s High Court ruling on the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. While the court might have judged the plan to be lawful in principle – and we are certain this will be appealed – we know that in practice it remains cruel, inhumane and unworkable.
The Home Office’s own evidence shows that harsh deterrence measures such as this do not work, and polling shows just 10% of people think this plan is the right policy. Instead, far more people support our calls for greatly increased safe routes for asylum seekers who need the UK’s protection.
It’s also worth pointing out the other part of today’s ruling – that the Home Secretary must consider the circumstances of individual claimants to decide if their asylum claims should be determined in the UK – is potentially very important and could have consequences for any practical implementation of the scheme.
The asylum seekers we support, who already experience great anxiety for the future, tell us the Rwanda plan adds to their stress and fear. Those who have received letters stating they are subject to be removed to Rwanda live in a state of heightened worry. In the end, this is probably the scheme’s greatest effect – to cause further distress to traumatised people. As Kamal from Afghanistan told us recently: “People are scared by the news. They get scared when politicians say bad things about us, that we are criminals or invading. We just want to live safely and peacefully.”
Therefore, alongside all others who value human rights and the UK’s reputation as a fair and compassionate country, we will continue to speak out against this plan and do everything we can to ensure no one is ultimately subjected to this inhumane treatment.