In April 2022, the UK government announced plans to deny people the opportunity to seek asylum in the UK, and instead take them by force to Rwanda if they arrive here via any ‘unofficial’ route. The Churches have been vocal in their opposition to this policy.
If you share these concerns, please write to your MP today. It’s always more effective if you can put your views in your own words and draw on your own experience. We’ve put together a template letter to get you started, which you can download below.
On social media? If you use social media, you could contact your MP by tagging them, and use the hashtag #StopRwanda.
Dear ____________ MP
I am writing to express how appalled I am by the plan to send people who are seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda. I believe that those fleeing war or persecution should be treated fairly and compassionately irrespective of the way in which they arrived here.
Everyone has the right to seek asylum. People seek asylum in the UK because they want a chance to rebuild their lives where they feel safe, where they have family, or where the language is familiar. Under the government’s plans, instead they will be forcefully removed to a country they have no connection to, with no way back – simply because of how they came to the UK, and not because of their need for protection.
To export some people seeking asylum to Rwanda is a denial of the UK’s responsibilities, and of the rights and dignity of refugees. It will tear families apart, destroy lives, and undermine the principles of the UN Refugee Convention which the UK helped to create after the horrors of the Second World War.
The generous public response in the UK to those who have had to flee from Ukraine and Afghanistan over the last year shows that our communities are keen to welcome refugees and help them rebuild their lives, not turn them away. Many refugees go on to make a huge contribution to their new communities.
While the government claims that its policy is designed to deter people from making dangerous journeys across the channel, it has itself created the situation where people are forced to take unsafe routes if they want to seek asylum here. Rather than sending people to Rwanda, the government should be working with other countries to expand the number of safe routes and resettlement programmes that will enable people in need of protection, including unaccompanied children, to seek sanctuary in the UK.
I would be grateful if you would pass my views on to the government, and ask what it is doing to establish workable, safe and welcoming routes for asylum, through which the UK can play its part in meeting its international responsibilities and responding to need.
[Add your name and full postal address]