Members of Exiled Writers Ink, we are refugee and migrant writers who fled from our countries of origin because of oppression, persecution, war, imprisonment, torture and deprivation of freedom of speech. We are angry about the Government’s cruel plan to dump asylum seekers in Rwanda.
Many of us were traumatised because of our experiences and understand only too well that desperate refugees forcibly sent to Rwanda will be re-traumatised finding themselves in an unknown country with a dire record of human rights and no provision for their welfare or future. The huge amount of money paid to Rwanda and the cost of sending asylum seekers there, would be far better spent supporting, integrating and training refugees who merely want the chance to rebuild their lives and ultimately to contribute to the UK. The scheme provokes racism and a hostile environment. Once in far away Rwanda, the British general public will become indifferent to the fate of the unwanted asylum seekers.
The government’s plan does not recognise even basic human rights’ principles. Deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda is in breach of the most fundamental of UN agreements – the UN Refugee Convention which allows asylum seekers to travel in any way they can to seek asylum and in fact, for most, there is no way of reaching the UK other than by clandestine means. Moreover, asylum seekers have the right to have their claims processed without fear of removal. We must – and we will – fight this inhumane scheme.
Rouhi Shafii (Chair, Exiled Writers Ink), Dr Jennifer Langer (Director, Exiled Writers Ink), Nasrin Parvaz, Taffi Nyawanza, Valbona Luta, Dr Parwana Fayyaz, Alemu Tebeje, Amir Darwish, Zoe Neirizi, Dr Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes, Catherine Davidson, Shamim Azad, Denisse Vargas-Bolanos