UK-Rwanda deal: British govt facing legal action over controversial Rwanda deportation policy

UK-Rwanda deal: British govt facing legal action over controversial Rwanda deportation policy
2 min read
28 April, 2022
The British government faces forthcoming challenges against plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda as UK refugee charities gear up for legal action.
Britain promised Rwanda an initial £120m as part of an 'economic transformation and integration fund' [source: Getty]

The UK government is expected to face legal action against its controversial plan to ship asylum seekers to Rwanda after British charities raised “serious human rights concerns” over the policy. 

The British Home Office received a pre-action letter from Freedom From Torture via their solicitors Leigh Day requesting full details about the policy, including risk assessments and the memorandum of understanding between the UK and Rwanda

The letter is likely to lead to a judicial review claim and the charity has set up a crowdfunding page for costs involved in delivering the legal challenge.  


Sonya Sceats, Chief Executive at Freedom from Torture, told The New Arab: “The decision to send to Rwanda refugees who take dangerous routes to claim asylum must be challenged because it is an affront to basic human decency.

“It is also a clear violation of Britain’s international legal obligations towards torture survivors and other refugees."

“We believe strongly in the rule of law and Freedom from Torture and others will not hesitate to hold the government accountable in the courts for these transgressions,” she added.

The charity’s crowdfunding page has raised just over £20,000 so far. 

It aims to raise a further £10,000 over the next 28 days. 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the plan to send people fleeing violence and persecution to Rwanda two weeks ago. 

He presented the policy as means to tackle people-smuggling gangs, saying “there is simply no other option". 

Separate legal challenges have been launched by other charities, including Detention Action and Care4Calais, as well as the PCS union, whose members include Home Office staff and Border Force officers.

This week the UK government U-turned on plans to implement a "refugee pushback" strategy ahead of a High Court hearing.

Freedom From Torture said this was because "they realised they were going to lose” forthcoming legal challenges.