UK Home Office ad campaign urges migrants to 'consider Rwanda'

UK Home Office ad campaign urges migrants to 'consider Rwanda'
The policy proposal to deport asylum seekers for processing in Rwanda was originally meant as a deterrent, not an invitation.
2 min read
23 April, 2022
Rights groups have staunchly criticised Rwanda's human rights record, while the UK forges ahead with their partnership [Getty]

The UK home office has launched a series of adverts marketing Rwanda to asylum seekers after their policy to deport individuals seeking safety in the UK for processing was met with mass backlash

The video campaign highlights "success stories" of migration to Rwanda over the last 20 years, painting a portrait of harmony, welcome and opportunity in the African country. 

In the videos, former refugees say that Rwanda was "extremely safe"  and that "what you see in the media is different".

Successful software engineers, business people and landowners tell the viewer to "consider Rwanda - you have the absolute freedom to pursue your dreams".

However, rights groups have staunchly criticised the "appalling human rights record" of Rwanda.

According to Amnesty International, the UK-Rwanda partnership is actually the resurrection of a failed deal struck between Israel and the Kagame regime in Rwanda - where asylum seekers faced "abuse, trafficking, starvation and threats of being returned to countries they were fleeing from torture". 

The marketing campaign has been met with a mixture of condemnation and satire online.  

Researcher Dan Kaszeta tweeted sarcastically: "Encouraging people to get on a raft in order to get sent to a Rwandan paradise seems to be a perverse use of public funds".

The policy proposal has proved unpopular with voters and politicians alike, although UK polls often show that a majority of the British public supports some form of off-shore "processing" for migrants and asylum seekers. 

The plan was even rejected by Theresa May, the principal architect of "hostile environment" policies enacted against asylum seekers during her time as home secretary. 

"I do not support the removal to Rwanda policy on the grounds of legality, practicality and efficacy," said the former UK prime minister.