Home Office sending migrants to Rwanda: MSF UK response

Move to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is despicable

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to announce plans to outsource the processing of UK asylum claims to Rwanda under Clause 28 of the Nationality and Borders Bill. Clause 28 will allow asylum seekers to be removed from the UK and indefinitely detained while their asylum claims are processed. 

MSF is highly concerned about this “offshore processing”, having seen the horrific impact of such policies elsewhere in the world. Please find a statement from MSF below. 

Sophie McCann, Advocacy Officer at MSF UK, said: 

“It is absolutely despicable that the UK Government is pushing ahead with plans to outsource the indefinite detention and processing of asylum seekers to Rwanda. When MSF teams worked on Nauru island, where the Australian government implemented a similar policy, they witnessed some of the worst suffering recorded in MSF’s 50-year existence.   

One-third of our patients attempted suicide. Children as young as nine years-old were trying to kill themselves. This kind of suffering is what awaits refugees in Rwanda if plans go ahead. It is medically and ethically reprehensible.   

These measures close off opportunities for refugees to gain a fair hearing on British soil and further undermine the Refugee Convention. The UK Government has a responsibility to process asylum claims of those arriving here and must not transfer this to another country, where the human suffering is concealed from public view.   

Offshoring asylum seekers will further traumatise vulnerable, women, men and children who are seeking safety in the UK, some of whom will have already survived torture, sexual violence, trafficking and trauma. In pushing forward with the Nationality and Borders Bill, the government is putting lives at risk and cementing the UK as one of the most anti-refugee countries in the world.   

Make no mistake, this government knows what the impact of this policy will be – it is knowingly and willingly subjecting refugees to horrific suffering.    

Even at this late stage, we urge the Home Office to reconsider: drop the inhumane policies in the Borders Bill and commit to providing safe and legal routes for all people fleeing war and persecution before any more lives are destroyed.”   


Contact us
About MSF UK

This is the press room for MSF UK - the UK office of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare. MSF offers assistance to people based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

MSF UK's privacy notice is available here.

Lower Ground Floor, Chancery Exchange,
10 Furnival Street, London, EC4A 1AB