Human Rights Act, ECHR and Government accountability / Immigration and migrants' rights


Posted on 23 Apr 2024

  • Human rights groups Freedom from Torture, Amnesty International UK and Liberty have branded Parliament “a crime scene” following the passage of the Rwanda Bill
  • Groups have called out the Government for showing a blatant disregard for the findings of the UK’s Supreme Court, international law and the protection of refugees 
  • The groups are calling on the public to ‘reject the Government’s hostile policies and to stand up for people seeking safety’ 

Human rights groups Freedom from Torture, Amnesty International UK and Liberty have branded Parliament “a crime scene”, following the passage of the Safety of Rwanda Bill, which the groups says will put people who have endured persecution, war and torture at “risk of an unsafe future”.

The Safety of Rwanda Bill passed through Parliament on Tuesday 16 April and is now set to become law.

In their protest against the Bill, the groups said that the Government has ignored rulings and evidence from the Supreme Court, UNHCR and members of the House of Lords, and undermined the system of  legal checks and balances in the UK, as well as overruling vital international protections.

The groups expressed concern that the UK is increasingly gaining a reputation for playing fast and loose with its international obligations, and that this Bill poses a significant threat to the rule of law by undermining the structures and human rights that protect people from an abuse of power by the State. The groups are part of a wider coalition calling for this Bill to be scrapped immediately.

Campaigners have urged the Government to urgently restore the right to asylum, no matter how people arrive in the UK, and to rebuild an asylum system that is fair, efficient and compassionate at its core.

Recent polling has shown that most people in the UK want those fleeing persecution, war and torture to have their case heard, and to be treated with dignity and respect.

A spokesperson for the organisations, said:  

“We all deserve the chance to live a safe life, and to seek protection when we need it most. This shameful Bill trashes the constitution and international law whilst putting torture survivors and other refugees at risk of an unsafe future in Rwanda.

“No matter how many times the Prime Minister says so, we know this is not the will of the people. Caring people up and down the UK want to see men, women and children who’ve fled war, persecution and torture given protection and security, so they can recover and rebuild their lives in safety.

“Instead of punishing people who’ve already been through so much, we need compassionate, and protection focused policies. It’s time for those in power to stop demonising and scapegoating some of the most vulnerable people in our society, and to restore the right to asylum in the UK and uphold vital international protections.”

Akiko Hart, Director of Liberty, said:

“Everyone has the right to live in safety, free from persecution, and with dignity – but this disgraceful Bill rips apart the basic principles of our human rights protection.

“Not only does this Bill put the lives and livelihoods of refugees at risk, but it also makes it nearly impossible for the courts to do their job and to scrutinise the actions of the Government. Checks and balances are a vital part of our democracy.

“The Bill is a brazen attempt to score political points, with no regard for the harm it inflicts on those it affects. If the Government can snatch away rights from any section of society, this places everyone’s rights at risk. We must stand against the Government’s efforts to attack our rights through this Bill.”

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