UN Experts Raise Concerns with Airline Regulators Over UK Government Plans to Remove People Seeking Asylum to Rwanda

UN experts have contacted the UK government and aviation authorities in the UK and abroad to express concerns about any involvement by airlines in the UK government’s plan to remove people by force to Rwanda.

They stated that “Even if the UK-Rwanda agreement and the Safety of Rwanda Bill are approved, airlines and aviation regulators could be complicit in violating internationally protected human rights and court orders by facilitating removals to Rwanda.” 

The UN Special Rapporteurs on Trafficking, on Migrants and on Torture contacted aviation authorities following an urgent submission from the human rights charity Detention Action.

The UK Supreme Court ruled in November 2023 that people flown by force to Rwanda would be at real risk of being returned to countries where they would face serious threats to their life or freedom.

The Safety of Rwanda Bill attempts to deprive them of the ability to raise those concerns in the UK, stripping them of the protection of the prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment and the right to effective remedies.

James Wilson, Director of Detention Action, said:

“By forcing people onto planes to Rwanda, this government is outsourcing its responsibility to protect people seeking asylum here.

“Airlines must not profit from the misery and human rights abuses caused by this plan.

“It will set a very dangerous precedent that businesses can ignore human rights and international law when it suits them, putting us all at risk.”