Help us challenge the shameful Rwanda deal

by Care4Calais

Help us challenge the shameful Rwanda deal

by Care4Calais
Case Owner
Care4Calais is a volunteer-run charity delivering essential aid and support to refugees in Northern France, Belgium and the UK.
on 29th April 2022
pledged of £140,000 stretch target from 4142 pledges
Case Owner
Care4Calais is a volunteer-run charity delivering essential aid and support to refugees in Northern France, Belgium and the UK.

Latest: Jan. 31, 2023

We're going to appeal!

New fundraising page for our appeal here:

In December, the High Court ruled that the Government’s Rwanda plan is lawful. Care4Calais is now se…

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Care4Calais are challenging this Government’s proposals to forcibly remove people seeking UK to Rwanda, a country with a notorious history of human right abuses. We’re bringing this claim alongside the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and Detention Action.

PCS represent civil servants charged with identifying and facilitating the removal of refugees and partnered with us in our successful challenge to the Home Office’s previous policy to pushback small boats in the Channel.  Detention Action support and advocate for people in immigration detention, as we expect those identified for transfer to Rwanda to first be detained. 

Why are we doing this? 

The government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is a threat to lives of refugees, the international reputation of the United Kingdom and an unnecessary drain on the finances of British people. From the suspiciously sparse detail presented so far, it is already clear that the plan poses multiple risks.

Innocent people will be needlessly and cruelly traumatised. Refugees who have already suffered much at home and on their journeys will now be forced on 4000-mile journeys to an unfamiliar destination. This will cause immeasurable fear, anguish and distress.

Refugees will not be safe. Rwanda is a dictatorship that imprisons, tortures and murders people who speak out against the government. International human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have raised serious concerns. It would be impossible to ensure the safety of people the UK intends to send there.

Rwanda does not have a strong record on human rights. Freedom of expression is severely curtailed, with academics, journalists, bloggers and YouTubers among those imprisoned; the right to privacy is abused, with thousands of people believed to be spied on by the authorities; and Amnesty International has documented widespread corruption which frustrates individual access to justice.

British taxpayers will pay more. Surprisingly, the government has not costed the exercise – although the reluctance to release figures may be telling in itself. Australia’s notorious offshore scheme reportedly cost more than £5bn.

It is essential that the UK government is held to account. A democratic government’s decisions must be transparent, and ministers must be accountable, so that we know what is being done to us, and to others in our name. If governments are not challenged, they may try to act illegally; this was amply demonstrated when the UK government was forced to withdraw its illegal pushbacks policy when we challenged them in court.

Sending asylum seekers to Rwanda would breach the UK’s legal obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Refugee Convention. The government cannot act with impunity, these proposals violate the most fundamental tenets of domestic and international law. 

It cannot be allowed to happen, and the Government must be held to account for its decisions, which should be made with transparency and decency, not without the opportunity for public scrutiny.

What do we know about the policy?

We know there is a policy. It was announced on 14 April. However, the Secretary of State has not published it. 

So what are we challenging?

First, we’re challenging the lack of transparency. The Home Office has failed to disclosed her policy determining which individuals will be considered suitable for removal. It is fundamental to the rule of law that this policy should be made known.  The reason for this is simple; to ensure that people can see how, when and in what ways a policy will affect them. In this case, where the supposed policy risks removing people to a country where they may be at real risk of human rights abuses and harm, it is all the more important that the public knows who will be sent to Rwanda and on what basis, and what safeguards exist to protect lives.

Second, we are challenging the way in which this plan will unlawfully penalise refugees based on their irregular entry. The proposal is likely to breach a myriad of human rights obligations under both domestic and international law, including the principle of non-refoulement and basic protections against inhuman and degrading treatment. 

Why us?

Care4Calais supports refugees in northern France who simply want to claim their right of asylum in the UK.  These are the people most often vilified by this Government’s anti refugee policies.  Evidence shows that 98% of these people claim asylum on arrival in the UK, and between 70-80% of them are granted it, having passed through a system which is prejudiced against them.  They tell us their stories of escaping the worst horrors in the world and making incredibly brave journeys to arrive here.  We know they have lost friends and relatives in conflicts and on the journey, and suffered persecution and torture at home; to us it is cruel and callous in the extreme to consider that the UK might put our brave and resilient friends through the further trauma of anther deportation.  

When they arrive in the UK we help them with donated aid, access to legal and medical services and guidance through their daily lives in the UK.  We work in 147 hotels across England and Wales supporting over 8.000 asylum seekers who are housed by the Government.  We have a group of over 5,000 volunteers and we are supported by over 100,000 public supporters and donors. The vast majority of volunteers and supporters are British citizens who care about how refugees are treated by our Government and who give up their time and their money to support them and to stand up for their rights.  Many hundreds of our volunteers host refugees in their homes. 

We know the fear and distress the Rwanda announcement has caused; however, we also know that it will not act as a ‘deterrent’ to people who have already been forced to risk their lives. This proposal risks our reputation as a safe haven where people fleeing conflict and persecution can  live in peace and stability. 

The legal team

We have instructed the Public Law Team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors which has an excellent track record of bringing complex judicial review claims that are of wider public importance. We recently instructed them in a challenge to the Home Office’s ‘pushback’ policy, which resulted in the Home Office’s withdrawal of the policy. The Duncan Lewis legal team are Toufique Hossain, Lewis Kett, Sophie Lucas, Charlotte McLean and Manini Menon.  

Duncan Lewis have instructed a formidable counsel team comprising: 

  • Raza Husain QC 
  • Chris Buttler QC 
  • Jason Pobjoy 
  • Eleanor Mitchell 
  • Katy Sheridan 
  • Rayan Fakhoury

Why are your donations needed?

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. Any unused funds will be allocated according to Crowd Justice’s Unused Funds policy.

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Update 3


Jan. 31, 2023

We're going to appeal!

New fundraising page for our appeal here:

In December, the High Court ruled that the Government’s Rwanda plan is lawful. Care4Calais is now seeking permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal and we need your help.

We continue to believe that refugees will not be safe in Rwanda and that the government gave insufficient consideration to whether Rwanda will uphold refugees’ rights.

At Court of Appeal will have the opportunity to present our arguments and evidence to senior judges. We believe this is a critical opportunity to ensure that this shameful policy is examined with the depth and rigour that is required. Given the enormous impact it will have on thousands of peoples’ lives, this examination is essential.

The case is being appealed by certain individuals who are affected by it, but it is important that the interests of the many thousands of other refugees who will be affected by this policy are also represented. This is why Care4Calais are bringing this appeal.

We are raising funds for our own legal costs, and to protect us from paying the Home Office’s legal fees if we lose at any stage before the Court of Appeal. Funds raised for the initial court case heard by the Divisional Court have now been used. 

The Rwanda plan risks the UK’s reputation as a safe haven where people fleeing conflict and persecution can live in peace and stability.

Please help us to take this crucial next step in stopping this shameful plan. 


Update 2


Dec. 22, 2022

The Court ruled the scheme is lawful, what next?

On Monday, the Court ruled the Governments Rwanda plan is lawful.  For those of us who support refugees we really want to know, what next?

Let’s start by looking at the decisions in respect of the eight individual claimants. The court ruled that decisions made by the Home Office on inadmissibility and removal in respect of six of the individuals were flawed and should be overturned. They also ruled that decisions made with regard to the human rights of seven of the individuals should be overturned. This means that decisions of the Home Office made with respect to all of the individuals have been quashed, and suggests that if the Government wants to actually go ahead and remove anyone they may have a difficult path ahead.

The judges said that for every person the Home Office considers sending to Rwanda they must consider (1) whether there is anything about their particular circumstances which means that their asylum claim should be determined in the UK and (2) whether there are any other reasons why they should not be relocated to Rwanda.

The judgment provides many details of where the judges consider that the Home Office made errors and/or failed to apply the policy in a sufficiently robust and reasoned manner to the individual circumstances of each case.  What this means is that if any individuals are issued with removal notices for Rwanda they should certainly consider any challenge as there seem to be serious questions over the Home Office’s resources and administrative capability to properly implement this policy. 

Our immediate worry is that the publicity following the judgement, and the framing of it as a ‘big win’ by the Government, will scare asylum seekers who are now in the UK. Please help us to reassure as many as possible that, for the reasons stated above, imminent removals are not expected. People panicking and absconding, or worse attempting suicide, have already been casualties of this policy and sadly are now a real risk again.  

If any asylum seeker receives a letter from the Home Office that mentions Rwanda please refer them to our translated Rwanda leaflets and We will help them find lawyers and be ready to challenge any inadmissibility decision and removal. 

Further reassurance can be given to asylum seekers that last time the Government tried to organise a flight, as part of stopping it, an ‘interim measure’ was issued by the European Court of Human Rights which makes it very difficult for the Government to deport anyone until three weeks after the final decision by a UK court on this matter. 

Our current case has been adjourned until 16 January.   We and the other claimants are now discussing with our lawyers whether appeals can be made on the generic grounds, ie the parts that apply to everyone. If appeals can be made on generic grounds by any of the claimants, the ECHR ruling ought to stand until three weeks after the final decision by highest UK court that hears the case.  

  • Generic grounds - safety 

The court had to decide whether the Home Secretary’s decision that Rwanda is safe was reasonable and had taken into account a thorough evaluation of the available evidence.  

UNHCR provided significant evidence that refugees have previously not been safe in Rwanda and that Rwanda’s asylum system is inadequate.  The Home Office disregarded this and relied on the (non legally binding) MOU agreement between the UK and Rwanda in which Rwanda promises things will be different in relation to individuals transferred under this agreement. The court broadly found that, as no one has yet been deported to Rwanda under the agreement there is no evidence that Rwanda will break the promises in the MOU. 

Evidence was presented regarding refugees in Rwanda who took part in riots over food shortages in 2018 that were suppressed by police who fired on demonstrators, some of whom were killed.  The court concluded that any refugees transferred to Rwanda by the UK would be treated differently because they would be protected by the promises made in the MOU, and so no similar protests should arise.  

The judges appeared to reject the suggestion that the past behaviour of the Rwandan authorities is an indicator of their future behaviour.  They seem to expect an MOU bubble to surround any UK-transferred refugees that will keep them separate to what happens generally to other asylum-seekers in Rwanda.

  • Generic grounds - Refugee Convention Article 31 

The Refugee Convention says that penalties should not be imposed on refugees because they enter a country illegally, subject to conditions being met.  But the Government says it wants to deter refugees from entering the UK illegally by sending them to Rwanda. So this must be against the Refugee Convention, right? 

The Government’s lawyers presented evidence that when Article 31 was drafted it was not intended to stop a country from deporting a refugee to another country, as long as that other country is safe. So this point is now tied in to the above point where the Home Secretary has - lawfully in the opinion of the court - concluded that Rwanda is safe.  As long as Rwanda is safe, Article 31 should not prohibit refugees being sent there.  But isn’t there a contradiction? Being sent to Rwanda is even more frightening than the very real risk of drowning in the Channel.  But Rwanda is safe. 

  • Generic grounds - Refugee Convention Article 33 

A country should not send a refugee to another country where his life will be under threat, either directly (in Rwanda) or indirectly, if Rwanda send him on to somewhere he might be under threat. 

As part of the Home Secretary’s decision that Rwanda is a safe country she had determined that refugees sent there by the UK (if not other refugees) will be safe and will not be sent on to places where they will be at risk, so the judges rejected this ground.

We now need our lawyers to determine whether, to what extent and by whom, any of the above may be challenged. 

We think its shocking that the Government is wasting time and money on this brutal plan when just a week ago another eight pole drowned in the Channel. With your help we will continue this fight.  We know there is a kinder and more effective way to stop small boat crossings and save refugees lives. For more information go to

Update 1


Sept. 14, 2022

Last week we were in court. Here's what happened

Last week Care4Calais alongside PCS union, Detention Action and a number of individual claimants were in court to challenge the Government’s Rwanda removal policy. We wanted to update you on the five days we spent in court last week.

Our lawyers presented comprehensive evidence that the Government had been told by its own officials about human rights abuses in Rwanda before it launched the Rwanda scheme, and that the Foreign Office was opposed to the Home Office making a deal with the Rwanda due to serious human rights concerns, citing extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, enforced disappearances, torture and using refugees to conduct armed operations in neighbouring countries.  Despite this, the Government went ahead.

UNHCR presented compelling evidence of its own concerns about both Rwanda’s human rights record and the Government's proposed scheme, including evidence that Rwanda does not have the capability to fairly hear asylum claims and evidence that refugees will not be safe there and could potentially be sent back to their dangerous home countries.

Due to the volume of evidence and the complexity of the case there will be a further hearing on 10 October when our colleagues at Asylum Aid will present evidence of how the process has been unfair, based partly on our witness statement from having supported so many of the people involved in the attempted June flight. We therefore now won’t get a ruling until October or November. 

The decision made by the ECHR to stop flights until the final outcome of the case is known should prevent flights taking off in the interim period however every day we are being contacted by more people who have received new Rwanda notices and are very scared.  

This article provides an excellent summary of the five days we spent in court last week:

Due to the scale of the work involved and the resource that the Government has put into fighting this case, our own legal costs are rapidly growing so we are asking for further donations to support this work. If you can donate or are able to share with others who have not yet donated, please do. It really will help us fight this brutal policy.

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