- Judicial review challenge to the UK’s cruel Rwanda deal starts next week
- Rwanda’s troubling human rights record includes enforced disappearances, torture, excessive use of force by the police, and serious violations of the right to free expression
- ‘The Home Secretary should never have led us to this point, and the new Prime Minister must now abandon this unlawful and reckless plan as soon as possible’ – Steve Valdez-Symonds
Ahead of the new Prime Minister appointment on Monday (5 Sep), Amnesty International is calling for the Rwanda deal to be dismissed.
Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said:
“This shameful policy was always a profound error of judgment, and recent reports that the Government failed to heed warnings about Rwanda’s human rights record from its own officials only adds to a picture of reckless disregard for law and reality by ministers.
“The UK shouldn’t be casting off its asylum responsibilities to other countries under any circumstances but expelling people seeking asylum 4,000 miles away to a country with a deeply troubling human rights record and longstanding large-scale asylum responsibilities of its own is staggeringly irresponsible.
“In their efforts to defend the UK-Rwanda deal, Priti Patel and other ministers have made themselves PR agents for a country with a track record of arbitrary detention, torture and the repression of free speech.
“The Home Secretary should never have led us to this point, and the new Prime Minister must now abandon this unlawful and reckless plan as soon as possible.
“Rather than constantly seeking to avoid responsibility for refugees, the Prime Minister and Home Secretary need to get back to the job of establishing a fair and efficient system for processing people’s claims and providing asylum to those who have fled war, torture and other persecution.”
Amnesty is also calling on the new Prime Minister to act on the UK’s asylum responsibilities under international law rather than seeking to avoid them.
The new Prime Minister should support and encourage the UK’s neighbours and others – who presently accept far greater responsibility than the UK – by reasserting and demonstrating its own commitment to the Refugee Convention.
They should begin this turn-around by taking three immediate steps:
- Abandon the cruel and unlawful Rwanda deal
- Process and decide the asylum claims of people who have been wilfully placed in limbo and now constitute a large backlog at the Home Office
- Seek an agreement with France to ensure access to asylum on both sides of the Channel, with the UK accepting a fair share of people into its asylum system including those with clear family and other connections here