Churches express outrage at the Rwanda Bill

An open letter, signed by over 250 organisations from across civil society in the UK, including the Baptist, Methodist and United Reformed Churches and the Church of Scotland, has been sent to the Prime Minister following the passing of the Government’s Rwanda Act.

The organisations have come together to make a stand against the Government’s Rwanda Plan, which they say breaks international law and “abandons our duty to share in the global responsibility towards those forced to seek safety”.

The Rwanda Act is described in the letter as “a shameful and performatively cruel law that will risk people’s lives”, whilst the UK Government is accused of rewriting facts following the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that Rwanda is not a safe country in which to send refugees. 

The letter has been signed by charities, human rights organisations, organisations supporting children, women, LGBTQ+, and disabled communities, and faith groups. 

Signatures across the refugee sector include the Refugee Council, JCWI, Jesuit Refugee Service UK, Detention Action, Refugee Action, Freedom from Torture and Care4Calais. Other high profile signatories include Oxfam GB, Human Rights Watch, Children’s Rights Alliance for England and Disability Rights UK.

The member Churches of JPIT have been consistently vocal in their opposition to the Rwanda policy since it was announced two years ago. The Baptist Union, Methodist Church and United Reformed Church have been signatories on multiple letters, statements and petitions calling instead for a practice of welcome, hospitality and compassion. Churches have urged the protection of human rights and for more safe routes for asylum seekers.

One of JPIT’s Six Hopes for Society is for a society that welcomes the stranger. We believe that all humans are children of God, known by name and loved by God. We believe that all human beings deserve dignity, respect, safety and their human rights. This is why our churches have signed this open letter and previous statements on this issue.

You can read previous statements on the Rwanda policy here.

Open Letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the Rwanda Bill (23 April 2024)

Dear Prime Minister,

We write to express our shared outrage at the passage of the misleadingly named ‘Safety of Rwanda Act’. This is a shameful and performatively cruel law that will risk people’s lives and betray who we are as a society.

We all want to be safe – and we want that safety for each other, too. As a country, we are proud to uphold our responsibility to support refugees. Given the chance, communities across our country go the extra mile to welcome those in need. The wider public do not support the Rwanda plan.[1]

But this law would enable the Government to forcibly expel people seeking asylum – including children and survivors of trafficking and modern slavery – despite concerns they could be put at grave risk of harm and human rights abuses. The Rwanda plan will force people who have fled violence and persecution into detention centres where they may face abuse and mistreatment, with no time limit. They will then be removed to a country to which they have no connection, despite our country’s Supreme Court ruling that it is unsafe for them. Through this law, the Government will put them at grave risk of mental and physical harm, and of being returned to danger in the countries they fled.

Despite the clear ruling from the Supreme Court, the Government is rewriting the facts so they can shirk our responsibilities to refugees. In doing so, the Government would break international law and further shatter the UK’s commitment to justice and the rule of law. While this is a targeted attack on refugees and migrants, an attack on one group’s rights is an attack on all of us.

Outsourcing our asylum system to other countries is never acceptable. It abandons our duty to share in the global responsibility towards those forced to seek safety. Instead of continuing down this dangerous path, the Government must guarantee that asylum claims will be heard fairly on our shores, and open safe routes so that people are not forced to take dangerous journeys.

As organisations working towards a better future for all, we believe in kindness and compassion. The Government must listen to the people, abandon this deplorable deal with Rwanda and similar plans with other countries, and protect those who need sanctuary.

Signed by 251 civil society organisations

To read the full list of signatories, click here.

[1] British Future / Focaldata poll, published 17 March 2024: “Only 24 per cent of the public think the government should try to get the Rwanda Bill through in its current form” (“Less than a quarter of the public back Rwanda Bill in current form, poll finds”,, 18 March 2024, available at: 03/18/less-than-a-quarter-of-the-public-back-rwanda-bill-in-current-form-poll-finds)


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