The deportation flight to Rwanda was stopped – a victory for our movement which protested, petitioned and lobbied outside detention centres, the Home Office and around the UK. Legal appeals were bolstered and lawyers hopefully emboldened resulting in the European Court of Human Rights ruling at the last minute that people making an asylum claim would not have “access to fair and efficient procedures”.
We call on lawyers to work more closely with grassroots communities against this barbaric plan so that the force of the movement can inform and strengthen their legal efforts.
The Rwanda Plan like the Borders Bill is based on lies. The government says it’s to stop people arriving by boat and men “elbowing” women and children out of the asylum queue, and to stop criminal gangs. But the biggest criminal gang is this government and all of us are at risk. Rape survivors, mothers with children, under age refugees, and ultimately anyone could have their claim deemed inadmissible and be deported. We can’t forget that the Windrush generation citizens lost their homes, jobs and some were deported. Some lawyers saw it as a money-making opportunity. Until it was in the media, there was no visible collective campaigning so it was disconnected from other organising against the hostile environment. Few have received compensation and the campaign continues.
Rwanda isn’t safe. Media reports show refugees barely surviving with scarce food, housing and medical services and living in fear of the country’s brutal security forces. Some refugees have paid traffickers to help them escape. Israel was forced to drop a similar scheme to pay Rwanda to take deported asylum seekers after people held mock slave auctions in protest saying, “we are not slaves to be traded among nations.” War looms as Rwanda, jostling for rich mineral resources, stokes conflict with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Rwanda plan is aimed at deterring people from claiming asylum, a right recognised in international law. It’s a throwback to the worst of the colonial empire. Along with policies of deliberate destitution it is aimed at dividing and terrorising all of us.
But the growing anti-deportation movement is determined to defend the rights of all those seeking refuge. Many do not share the government’s hostility to people seeking safety and protection.
Millions are fleeing war, the climate crisis, western sanctions, starvation and the impact of colonial theft. Our countries have been bombed, our lands and homes destroyed, our wealth stolen.
We have every right to be here. We are owed trillions. Government must repair what they have destroyed over 500 years.
Please get in touch if you want to know more and join us in this campaign.
|Global Women Against Deportations (email@example.com) co-ordinates anti-deportation work at the Crossroads Women’s Centre. It includes the All African Women’s Group @AfricanGr, an organisation of women asylum seekers & refugees, plus Legal Action for Women, Women Against Rape @AgainstRape and Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike @woc_gws:Tel: 020 7482 2496