Rwanda offshoring policy risks leaving vulnerable people traumatised and without medical support they need, says BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Last reviewed: 14 April 2022
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Responding to the Government’s announcement about relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda, Dr Zoë Greaves, BMA medical ethics committee chair, said:

“The BMA has repeatedly raised concerns about the proposed use of offshoring on medical and ethical grounds, and we are profoundly concerned by today’s announcement, and the impact it will have on the health, well-being and safety of already extremely vulnerable people.

We know the damage a similar policy has inflicted on people trying to reach Australia, with extensive evidence showing the truly devastating effect detention has had on the mental health of those held in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

“While the Government insists ‘Rwanda is one of the safest countries in the world’, it is unclear how it came to this conclusion; especially given previous concerns raised about its human rights record. It is also unclear whether there will be infrastructure and resources in place to sufficiently meet the unique and pressing health needs that asylum seekers can present with.

“We are worried that such a policy risks leaving people who are vulnerable, fleeing dangerous situations and who have often experienced trauma exposed to further situations where they are re-traumatised and unable to access the medical attention and support that they desperately need.”

Ends

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.