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Safety of Rwanda Bill Update

The UK Government’s Safety of Rwanda Bill is now in the final stages before becoming law, at the back and forth stages between the House of Lords and House of Commons (often called 'ping pong'). You can read more about the Bill in our December blog here. When the Government introduced the Bill to parliament they could not say that it is compatible with the UK’s human rights obligations (this is section 19 statement, watch our short video for more information). 


One of the key human rights concerns with the Bill is the issue of refoulement. This is where a government sends people seeking asylum back to their/or another country to face likely ill-treatment. The UK Supreme Court has been clear this is not lawful, when it ruled the Government’s Rwanda scheme was not lawful in November last year; read our blog here. This Bill is attempting to say in law that Rwanda is a safe country irrespective of the factual situation. If it becomes law it will effectively remove human rights protections for asylum seekers in the most vulnerable situations in the UK. This includes people’s the right to private and family life (Article 8), the right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment (Article 3), the right to be free from discrimination (Article 14) as well as limiting people’s access to human rights law whilst their asylum claim is processed. Click here if you would like to read more about any of the rights mentioned. 


Ping pong is fast moving. On Monday the Bill went back to the House of Commons after the House of Lords put in 10 new amendments (changes), including making sure the UK complies with international legal and human rights duties. MPs voted to remove these changes. On Wednesday the Bill went back to the House Lords to look at the Bill again. They disagreed with the removal of many of the suggested changes. This means the Bill has not yet been passed into law, and will be looked at again by parliament after the Easter break on the 15 April 2024 (find out more on parliament’s website) 

Find out more about contacting your MP on human rights issues that are important to you, with our guide on writing to your MP. 

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