We’re appalled that the Safety of Rwanda Bill has been passed by the UK Parliament. In our 25 years of supporting refugees and asylum seekers, we have witnessed one piece of legislation after another, each harsher and more hostile to vulnerable people than before, culminating in this cruel, inhumane scheme. The Supreme Court, presented with all the evidence, ruled unanimously that Rwanda was not a safe country to send people to, and was clear that it was not even close to being safe. No legislation stating the opposite can change this fundamental fact.

This Bill does nothing to deal with the humanitarian issues surrounding record levels of forced displacement globally, or to find the international solutions that are needed. Instead, it will force people into ever more dangerous situations and create further misery and worse mental health for those who have already experienced great hardship and trauma. There is no evidence it will act as a deterrent, and no answers to the question of what will happen to the tens of thousands of asylum seekers who cannot be removed to Rwanda.

Shockingly, just hours after the Bill was passed, five more people – including a 7-year-old girl – died attempting to cross the Channel. This demonstrates yet again the urgent need for safe, legal routes for the relatively small number of people attempting to reach the UK to claim asylum. The clear majority of people claiming asylum in the UK are proven to have a genuine need for our protection. If we put this resource into allowing them to arrive in a safe, orderly fashion, processing their applications quickly and supporting those who are successful to rebuild their lives, it would be greatly beneficial both for the refugees themselves and their host communities.

The people we work with simply want to find a place of safety and have basic rights. Being an asylum seeker is an extremely difficult, stressful situation – far from home, separated from family, traumatised by experiences, full of uncertainty for the future and with no control over what happens next. The threat of removal to an unsafe country will not deter people from seeking our protection, but it will add to the stress and anxiety and cause further harm to people at a very difficult time in their lives. However, the fight against this dangerous scheme is not over. We will continue to speak out against it and work hard to support all those who might be affected by it.

You can hear us speaking about the Rwanda bill on BBC Radio Suffolk here (from 16.30 in).