Help us fight the government's cruel Rwanda plan

by Asylum Aid

Help us fight the government's cruel Rwanda plan

by Asylum Aid
Asylum Aid
Case Owner
Asylum Aid delivers free, high-quality legal representation to vulnerable people seeking asylum, including survivors of trafficking and torture, unaccompanied children, and stateless people.
18
days to go
£10,649
pledged of £25,000 stretch target from 334 pledges
Pledge now
Asylum Aid
Case Owner
Asylum Aid delivers free, high-quality legal representation to vulnerable people seeking asylum, including survivors of trafficking and torture, unaccompanied children, and stateless people.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: June 4, 2024

UPDATE: Flights to Rwanda to take off after 24th July.

We are happy to inform you that we have met our initial funding target to fight the Rwanda plan and are immensely grateful for your overwhelming support and generosity that has made this possible. It…

Read more

At Asylum Aid, we are channelling our collective outrage into legal action against the government’s inhumane Safety of Rwanda Act. The time to act is now. The Home Office has already indicated that it will start to forcibly detain people seeking asylum in order to send them to Rwanda. We are determined to put an end to this cruelty. We will fight to get access to effective legal representation, a fair hearing, and a fair outcome for those who are on the list to be sent thousands of miles away. We need your urgent support in this fight.

“I was detained to be sent to Rwanda in 2022 for two months… I had nightmares every day in that small room, and I got kidney problems. Even now I am so anxious that they will send me to Rwanda… I fear that the police will come to my door anytime… Rwanda is not safe for me …”

– Yazdan (name changed), Asylum Aid client from Iran.

What is our plan?

The UK government is set on sending vulnerable people who have fled persecution – including survivors of trafficking and torture, and even children – to Rwanda. We will resist their plan by seeking to ensure that those who are targeted by this Act have a fair chance to bring forward their case against removal, including on the grounds that they would be returned from Rwanda to the place they fled.

There is a lack of information on when flights will take off and who will be on them, but the government has made clear that it is determined to act quickly. The panic this causes is made worse by the limited capacity to provide high quality legal representation in the legal aid and charity sector.

We will seek to ensure that the Home Office gives those individuals who are informed they are on the list to be sent to Rwanda enough time to access effective legal representation, so they can make their case against the safety and lawfulness of their removal, and access court if necessary.

We want our clients and others in their situation to have fair and timely access to legal advice, and if necessary to court, so that they can use all legal avenues available to them to stop their removal to a country they have no connection to, and from where there is a real risk they will be sent back to where they fear persecution.

What have we done so far?

We have already begun this fight. We are in correspondence with the Home Office about the need to implement a fair procedure, especially in light of Asylum Aid’s judgment from the Court of Appeal in 2023. In response to our challenge to the Rwanda policy last year, the Court of Appeal found that seven days is not enough time for most people to make their case against being sent to Rwanda, and that they need effective access to legal advice and the opportunity to argue their case before being put on a plane. We are asking the Home Office to follow the Court of Appeal’s decision.

If necessary, we will bring a legal challenge to force the Home Office to adopt a fair and lawful procedure. They must ensure that individuals can get effective access to legal advice to put forward all their reasons against removal to Rwanda, including the risk that Rwanda would send them back to the place they fled.

How can you be involved?

Your support is instrumental in this critical fight against sending individuals to Rwanda. We need your help urgently as we are raising funds to help us challenge this cruel policy, including meeting the legal costs, solicitors’, and counsels’ fees if we have to bring litigation ourselves, and funding our casework team to make sure that our clients get the best possible advice and a fair chance to challenge their removal.

Please help us with the legal costs of bringing this vitally important challenge to the government’s unfair scheme, which is designed to be deliberately cruel. We have witnessed the deep and lasting damage it has already caused to the mental health of our clients, and we will do all that we can to oppose the inhumanity.

NOW is the time to stand up with us for fair processes, fair hearings and fair outcomes for people seeking protection in the UK.

In this case, we are represented by Leigh Day.

Update 4

Asylum Aid

June 4, 2024

UPDATE: Flights to Rwanda to take off after 24th July.

We are happy to inform you that we have met our initial funding target to fight the Rwanda plan and are immensely grateful for your overwhelming support and generosity that has made this possible. It is gratifying to see that our legal team’s hard work has been recognised and supported by you. It’s due to your solidarity that we can carry on this fight until the Rwanda scheme is completely abandoned or declared unlawful.

We were in the High Court yesterday on our case together with another case brought by an individual who is at risk of being sent to Rwanda. We can now inform you that the Home Office has said that flights will take off to Rwanda starting from 24th July. The individual’s case is going to have a hearing in July before the flights take off. At his hearing, the Court will consider the legal arguments first raised in Asylum Aid’s application for judicial review. Our case is currently going to be “stayed”, subject to further orders of the Court and in the meantime, we will continue preparing our case and working to prevent removals.

To recap our legal challenge, we are arguing that the Home Office’s ‘Safety of Rwanda’ guidance (Policy) unlawfully instructs decision makers to ignore compelling evidence put forward by individuals showing that they would be at individual risk of being sent from Rwanda to another country where they face a risk of persecution, torture or even death. The Policy, we believe, is unlawful and misinterprets the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024, which was given Royal Assent on 25 April. As above, these legal arguments have been adopted by an individual at risk of removal to Rwanda and will be considered at his Court hearing in July.

As we continue our fight, we would deeply appreciate any more donations, as it empowers our legal team, who are dedicated and determined, to ensure that this cruel and inhumane plan is laid to rest. The Rwanda plan has taken a huge toll on the mental health of people seeking asylum already, and we will do all that we can to ensure that they are treated fairly and with dignity and have timely access to justice.


Update 3

Asylum Aid

May 21, 2024

We filed our judicial review claim challenging the Home Office’s Rwanda policy

Thanks to your support, generosity, and solidarity, we have filed a claim in the High Court challenging the Home Office’s ‘Safety of Rwanda’ guidance (Policy). This means that that our fight is now before the court and our arguments will be considered by a judge.

Our argument is that the Home Office’s Policy unlawfully instructs decision makers to ignore compelling evidence put forward by individuals showing that they would be at individual risk of being sent from Rwanda to another country where they face a risk of persecution, torture or even death. The Policy, we believe, is unlawful and misinterprets the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024, which was given Royal Assent on 25 April.

We argue that section 4 of the Act allows decision makers to consider the risk of Rwanda sending an individual to another country where there is evidence that they would be at risk of torture, death, or other serious human rights violations, when considering any challenge to their removal based on compelling evidence of individual risk. This is an important safeguard which Parliament included in the Act to prevent serious human rights violations. The Home Office does not agree with our reading of the Act and has refused to amend its Policy to reflect this. Therefore, we have proceeded with a judicial review.

The government has made it clear that it intends to act in haste and potentially remove large numbers of vulnerable individuals, including survivors of trafficking and torture to Rwanda as quickly as they can. It is greatly concerning that the Home Office is making decisions that impact our clients and many others in their position without considering whether there is a real risk that an individual can be removed from Rwanda to another country, in violation of their human rights.

The Policy also has an impact on other connected decisions by the Home Office, including on requests for extensions of time to make legal representations and on the detention of individuals pending their removal. Therefore, it is critical that the issues raised by Asylum Aid are resolved urgently.

At the time of this update, we are around £2000 short of our current funding target to help us continue with our fight against the government’s inhumane Rwanda plan. We have 8 days to meet this target, and we need your help urgently. We will do all that we can to stop the cruel Rwanda plan, but we would not be able to do so without your help. Please consider donating to this fight – every contribution makes a huge difference.

Update 2

Asylum Aid

May 13, 2024

UPDATE: Our legal action led to Home Office amending parts of its Rwanda policy!

Thank you very much for your continued support – we are overwhelmed by your contributions, messages, and solidarity. Your support has meant that we could step up our fight against the government’s cruel Rwanda plan and are pleased to bring you some good news. The Home Office has amended parts of its Safety of Rwanda policy addressing some of the issues we had raised in our legal action against the guidance. We highlighted that the policy fundamentally misunderstands the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024 (‘the Rwanda Act’) .

As a result of our challenge, the Home Office has rolled back on parts of its policy only two weeks after publication. It has accepted that where a person makes a claim based on compelling evidence relating to their personal circumstances that Rwanda is not safe for them, the guidance is wrong to instruct caseworkers that they “must” still consider Rwanda to be safe when deciding whether the claim for asylum is inadmissible in the UK. 

The Home Office has confirmed that the individual’s reasons that Rwanda isn’t safe for them need to be considered in relation to any decision on whether their claim is inadmissible as well as in relation to any human rights decision. While we are pleased that the Home Office agreed with us that it made an error of law and has amended parts of its policy, we are continuing to review the new guidance.

Despite this positive news, our fight is far from over.

The Home Office has disagreed with our other challenge to the policy. We had argued that section 4 of the Rwanda Act allows an individual who is on the list to be sent to Rwanda to challenge their removal on grounds that Rwanda might send them to another country, including the one they fled from. The decision maker is allowed to consider the risk of Rwanda sending an individual to another country where there is evidence that they would be at risk of torture, death or other serious human rights violations, when considering any challenge to their removal. The Home Office does not agree with this reading of the Act and has refused to amend its guidance to reflect this.

Therefore, we are proceeding with a judicial review challenge. As a charity that provides free and high-quality legal representation to people seeking asylum in the UK, it is extremely important to us that the Home Office properly considers evidence of individual risk in Rwanda cases, including on the grounds that they would be returned from Rwanda to the place they fled. We believe that the Safety of Rwanda Act requires this.

As we prepare to go to court, we need your support more than ever. We will do everything we can to stop the government from sending people, including survivors of trafficking and torture, to Rwanda. But we would not be able to do so without your help.

Please donate to this fight, share it widely, and be an integral part of this resistance against cruelty.

Update 1

Asylum Aid

May 3, 2024

UPDATE: We launched legal action against the Home Office’s Rwanda policy

Thank you for all those who have supported us in the last few days. It’s been heartwarming to see such solidarity in this fight against the cruel Rwanda plan. We now have an important update for you – we have launched legal action.

We have sent a pre-action protocol letter to the Home Office, challenging the lawfulness of their new Safety of Rwanda guidance, published on 29th April 2024, which details how the Safety of Rwanda Act will be implemented. We say that the Home Office’s policy fundamentally misunderstands the Act and seeks to undermine the will of the Parliament as reflected in the Act.

We say the Home Office’s policy is unlawful because it instructs its caseworkers that:

(1) They must determine that Rwanda is a safe country when considering any protection claim, meaning that the claim won’t be considered in the UK and people will instead be sent to Rwanda to have their claims considered there, and 

(2) They must not consider any evidence or argument about the risk that Rwanda might send someone to another country, including the one they fled from,, when considering any human rights challenge to removal to Rwanda.

We say that the Home Office’s policy is unlawful because, despite section 2 of the Safety of Rwanda Act, which requires decision makers to treat Rwanda as being safe “in general”, section 4 of the Act allows individuals to put forward compelling evidence that in their individual circumstances, Rwanda is not safe for them.

We are worried that unless the guidance is amended, the Home Office decision makers will ignore compelling evidence showing that an individual would be in danger – including risks of persecution, torture or even death – if sent to Rwanda. This would be unlawful – even under the Safety of Rwanda Act, as officials are required to make sure sending people to Rwanda wouldn’t breach their human rights.

Through this formal letter, we have urged the Home Office to amend its policy in line with the Safety of Rwanda Act as we understand it. If the Home Office does not amend its policy, we intend to proceed with a judicial review to ask the High Court to rule on whether the Home Office has correctly interpreted the Safety of Rwanda Act when publishing its policy.

This means that the fight has only begun. 

Your contributions towards our funds would empower us to take this legal challenge forward. We have seen in horror in the last few days how the Home Office has started carrying out forcible detentions. This not only causes great panic but has taken a huge toll on the mental health of people seeking asylum in the UK. We believe that by backing this fight, you continue to give hope to all those who are pushed further into despair.

Thank you, and we will keep you updated on every step of the way.


    There are no public comments on this case page.