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LGBTQ charity vows to oppose the UK Government’s Rwanda policy after High Court decision

"This plan presents a real danger to anyone seeking asylum in the UK, and especially LGBTQI+ people."

By Alastair James

Asylum seeker
The LGBTQ charity, Rainbow Migration, has vowed to continue fighting the UK Government's controversial Rwanda plan (Image: Unsplash)

An LGBTQ charity says it will continue to fight against a controversial policy to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

On Monday (19 December) the UK’s High Court ruled that the UK Government’s policy to send asylum seekers wanting refuge in the UK to Rwanda was lawful. The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, says the government has always maintained the policy is lawful.

The policy has been decried by many as cruel and likely to endanger the lives of many fleeing persecution.

Responding to the news the charity, Rainbow Migration, says it is “saddened” by the decision. The charity supports LGBTQ people seeking asylum.

Writing on Twitter the charity says, “This plan presents a real danger to anyone seeking asylum in the UK, and especially LGBTQI+ people.

“We’ll continue to oppose this government’s scheme and ask for a more compassionate approach.”

In a statement given to Attitude the charity’s Executive Diector, Leila Zadeh, goes further. “We are disappointed to see that the High Court has ruled that the Rwanda scheme is lawful. However, it has also rejected the decision to remove eight people and has said that individual circumstances have to be taken into account.”

Zadeh says the “catastrophic scheme” presents “a real danger to anyone seeking asylum in the UK and especially LGBTQI+ people.” It emphasises that LGBTQI+ people are not safe in Rwanda.

“They are not legally protected, and are subject to entrenched discrimination, violence, and abuse, including from security officials,” it continues pointing to the case of Innocent Uwimana, a gay man from Rwanda.

“We call on this government to stop this plan and to rethink their approach to asylum,” Rainbow Migration continues. “Instead of punishing people for coming here in search of safety, this government should be building a more compassionate and caring asylum system that considers asylum applications carefully, in a timely manner, and on a case-by-case basis.”

Speaking to Attitude at the Attitude Pride Awards in July Zadeh called on the UK government to reconsider the plan.

Rainbow Migration has worked with refugees seeking asylum from Rwanda because of the treatment of LGBTQ people there. While homosexuality is legal in Rwanda there are horrifying reports of people being abused or attacked for their identity.

In a statement on Monday’s ruling the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, says the Rwanda policy will help people “build new lives” while also “disrupting the business model of people smuggling gangs putting lives at risk through dangerous and illegal small boat crossings.”

She adds: “We have always maintained that this policy is lawful and today the Court has upheld this. She also says, “my focus remains on moving ahead with the policy as soon as possible and we stand ready to defend against any further legal challenge.”

In April, the government proposed the idea of sending migrants to Rwanda. Since then people have not been deterred from coming here, the BBC reports.

The broadcaster says more than 44,000 people have already used this route to come to the UK this year. This is the highest figure since records began.

An earlier intervention from the European Court of Human Rights halted the first planned flight in June.

On Monday, the High Court also ruled the plan doesn’t breach the UN’s Refugee Convention or human rights laws. It also says the cases of eight individual asylum seekers need to be reconsidered.

An appeal is expected.