Over 830 UK healthcare professionals and representatives from major medical bodies have expressed “grave concerns” over the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, reports Anadolu Agency.
A letter, signed by healthcare professionals and sent to the country’s premier, fears that this plan will result in “catastrophic mental and physical harm” to individuals seeking safety, many of whom have histories of torture, trafficking, and trauma.
The medical community is concerned about subjecting these vulnerable individuals to such an inhumane process.
The letter has been sent as a court of appeal holds a hearing on the policy on Monday.
Previously, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) voiced concern about the matter, saying: “If it was passed, the UK asylum legislation would amount to an asylum ban.”
According to official data, a record 45,756 migrants crossed the Channel to the UK in 2022.
Besides making a deal with France to fight human smuggling in the English Channel, the UK also revealed a controversial plan last April to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, a landlocked East African country, where their claims would be processed.
In January this year, the top court in London granted an appeal to a charity that challenged the court’s decision that the government’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda are lawful in broad principle.
In December last year, the government beat back a legal challenge to its irregular migrant policy as the High Court paved the way for the deportations. In a 139-page ruling, Lord Justice Lewis said the controversial policy was “consistent with the refugee convention.” Although judges dismissed the challenges against the policy as a whole, they found that the government had failed to consider individual cases of eight asylum seekers.
Pushing back criticisms, Home Secretary Braverman said she wants to press on with the deportation policy “as soon as possible,” adding that the government stands ready to defend the policy “against any further legal challenge.”