Here’s what you can do to oppose anti-refugee government plans

Protest against the government's anti-refugee bill
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As reported by The Canary on 14 April, the government has announced plans to process and detain asylum seekers in Rwanda. In spite of questions surrounding the legality of the offshoring plan, prime minister Boris Johnson maintains that the government can implement it using existing legislation.

This comes as part of the Tories’ Nationality and Borders Bill which – if passed unamended – would empower the Home Office to revoke the British citizenship of anyone who can claim citizenship in another country.

In spite of widespread resistance to the inhumane plans, MPs voted against a House of Lords amendment that would force the government to pass any offshore detention plans through parliament at a House of Commons debate on 20 April. The bill will return to the House of Lords on 26 April.

Now is the time to resist this draconian anti-refugee bill.

A racist and inhumane policy

In July 2021, the UK’s international ambassador for human rights raised concerns about Rwanda’s failure

“to conduct transparent, credible and independent investigations into allegations of human rights violations including deaths in custody and torture.

Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, has questioned whether Patel’s offshore processing and detention plan complies with Britain’s human rights obligations under international law.

Read on...

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More than 160 charities and campaign groups have signed an open letter urging the government to u-turn on its “shamefully cruel” plan.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has reported that civil servants working in the Home Office may resist the unconscionable policy on ethical grounds.

In spite of opposition to the policy, on 20 April MPs voted 303:234 against a proposed amendment that would require MPs and Lords to approve any offshore processing and detention plans. This amendment included requirements for home secretary Priti Patel to present the details and costs of her offshore detention plans before she can enforce them.

Shocked by the vote’s outcome, Independent home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden tweeted:

 

The anti-refugee bill will return to the House of Lords on 26 April for the last time before it passes.

Contact your MP

We must resist the government’s cruel and inhumane plan to send vulnerable asylum seekers to Rwanda, a much smaller and more densely populated country than the UK. This begins by putting pressure on those in power.

Refugee rights group Safe Passage has drafted a template letter for people to put pressure on their MPs to oppose the anti-refugee bill. Ahead of the House of Commons debate, the group shared:

Alongside this, human rights organisation Detention Action shared a link to their petition against the draconian legislation:

Support groups working on the ground

Grassroots groups continue to do fantastic work supporting refugees and asylum seekers, and organising against the government’s anti-refugee legislation.

Detention Action directly supports those in detention, while also campaigning for policy and legislative change:

Freedom From Torture provides therapy and support for torture and trafficking survivors in the UK:

And SOAS Detainee Support is a grassroots abolitionist group working in solidarity with detained people in the UK to resist imprisonment and deportation:

Supporters can donate to sustain their frontline work via PayPal.

Meanwhile, Brighton-based charity The Hummingbird Project provides trauma-informed support for young refugees:

Take to the streets

Highlighting the vital role of protest in undermining such legislation, policy and advocacy manager for the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants Zoe Gardner shared:

Protests against government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda are due to take place on Saturday 23 April.

Londoners can join Stand Up To Racism in Croydon:

According to the Bristol Defend Asylum Seekers CampaignBristolians are coming together at midday: 

People can keep an eye on Collective Action London‘s page for the latest updates on upcoming protests in other locations this weekend.

Now is the time to resist Britain’s outsourcing of border control, and to demand an end to its anti-refugee policies altogether. We must use our collective power to demand that our government treats refugees and asylum seekers with the dignity and respect that every human being is entitled to.

Featured image via Philip Robins/Unsplash – resized to 770×403, via Unsplash License

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