Rwanda Bill endangers crucial medical care for vulnerable people, risking ‘severe, irreparable repercussions’, warns BMA

by BMA media team

BMA press release.

Location: UK
Published: Tuesday 23 April 2024
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In response to the announcement that the Government’s Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill has passed, Dr Jan Wise, chair of the BMA’s Medical Ethics Committee, said:

“It's deeply disheartening to witness the Government push through this Bill, with full knowledge of the severe, irreparable repercussions it risks imposing on people who are already vulnerable and fleeing dangerous situations. Despite fervent appeals from the BMA, and the wider medical community urging a reconsideration of this approach, the Government has proceeded. Instead of responding to the Supreme Court’s ruling underscoring Rwanda’s unsafe conditions with the abandonment of the Rwanda proposals, this Bill enables them to disregard the law, evidence and expert guidance.  

“We only need to look at previous offshoring schemes to see the devastating consequences when asylum seekers are relocated to countries where essential medical services are inaccessible. Evidence tells us that this Bill will subject individuals fleeing perilous circumstances, often having endured trauma, to an environment where they face the risk of further trauma and the inability to access crucial medical care that many desperately require. Even the medical assessments of individuals facing removal to Rwanda revealed cases of PTSD, medical signs indicative of torture, and instances of suicidal ideation during detention.

“Instead of pushing ahead with inhumane, expensive and unworkable proposals, Government should prioritise developing a fair, humane and effective asylum system, which respects the fundamental rights, health and dignity of people seeking safety in the UK.”



Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

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