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People killed trying to reach the UK morning after the Rwanda law passes


(a photo of a beach, ©booker photos)


London, 23/04/2024


There are reports emerging that “several people” have died this morning while trying to cross the Channel for the UK. 


This is tragic, awful news. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have lost their lives.


People already know they’re risking their lives when they step into a rickety boat to try to reach the UK. And yet this tragic news comes the morning after it was confirmed that the Safety of Rwanda Bill will become law. This shows the painful absurdity of the notion that the Rwanda policy is a deterrent.


If the government really wants to protect people and prevent them from making this kind of dangerous journey, they can. It’s in their hands. 


We know know the central arguments used to justify the Rwanda plan are nonsense: 


  • People aren’t “jumping the queue” by travelling to the UK on small boats. There is no queue to jump. For most people seeking asylum, there are no safe routes to the UK. 

  • This lack of safe routes is what forces people to take small boats to reach the UK. While this remains the case, people will continue to be pushed into the arms of the much-discussed smuggling gangs. 

  • The Home Office has admitted to MPs that there’s no evidence that it will act as a deterrent 


But even in a world where this scheme would meet its stated aims, it would remain inhumane, cruel and an abandonment to any commitment to human rights.


It’s important to state why the government felt this law was necessary. They weren’t able to prove that Rwanda is a safe country on the evidence, so they passed an act of parliament declaring it to be so. To do this they have had to try to override the UK Court’s ability to provide independent scrutiny of Government decisions.


It was for these reasons that UNHCR today stated that this Bill “...seriously hinders the rule of law and sets a perilous precedent globally”. 


This is an issue that’s dragged on for well over a year while people have continued to lose their lives due to the real problem: a lack of safe and accessible routes to protection. It’s important that we don’t let that wear us down. We have been lied to and we should be angry. A staggering amount of public money has been wasted. Our fundamental values have been abandoned. 


We’ll channel our anger into action and keep fighting alongside people who need protection. We know that like many of you will do the same. It is a bleak day for  people seeking protection and for those who would stand with them and who care about our shared humanity, But we can and we must fight back.


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