The Rwanda Bill: Not In Our Name

The newly passed Rwanda Bill represents a dark moment for human rights in the UK. The legislation makes it possible for the British Government to send people to a country which, according to the Supreme Court, is not safe, without hearing their claim to asylum. This effectively means that there is now no right to claim asylum in the UK, and no safe, legal routes for people to get here.  

An attack on everyone’s human rights 

As our friends at Refugee Action have pointed out, “removing universal rights from one group puts them at risk for everyone.” Additionally, without the prospect of having their claim assessed fairly—or indeed at all, this law will also force people seeking asylum to go underground in the UK, creating a cycle of vulnerability and exposing them to risks of exploitation and destitution.  

We have already started to see the legislation’s distressing effects among members at our Bournemouth Dignity Centre including some who have received ‘Notice of Intent’ letters for removal to Rwanda. Worryingly, we are also hearing reports of people seeking asylum being detained in advance of being sent to Rwanda. This cynical move, clearly designed to coincide with local elections, prioritises performative cruelty and political point scoring over human life. People are now living in fear, too scared to attend scheduled appointments with the police or even, leave their rooms. The Home Office has admitted that survivors of torture, sexual violence and trafficking, as well as disabled people and those with mental health issues, are more likely to be held.   

Snapshot from our Bournemouth Dignity Centre

At a broader level, this Government’s escalation in hostilities targeting people seeking asylum combined with scaremongering rhetoric and misleading or untrue information, feeds into the everyday normalisation of violence, racism and dehumanisation. It also increases polarisation within our communities and demonises those who stand in solidarity with people seeking asylum.  

As our CEO, Rachel, explained in a recent BBC interview, the intended “deterrent” effect will not work, and people will continue to risk their lives to seek safety in the UK.

We will continue to advocate for a fair and dignified asylum system while nurturing spaces like the Dignity Centre in Bournemouth where these values can be lived out. In contrast to this Government’s narrative, the feedback from the local community in and around Bournemouth continues to be one of welcome, unity and support. Our team on the ground has been taking part in protests, attending info sessions and providing emotional and administrative support to those affected.   

We stand in solidarity with all affected by this callous law, which will only cause more stress and suffering. Now more than ever we must join together as a community in acknowledgement of our shared humanity, and stand united against these brutal and racist policies.  

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