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May 22, 2022
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Threat of being sent to Rwanda ‘harming health of UK asylum seekers’

Rights organisations say refugees going into hiding as Home Office admits LGBTQ+ people could face persecution in African country

Ministers’ threats to send unauthorised migrants to Rwanda are having a detrimental impact on the physical and psychological health of people seeking asylum, according to two major refugee charities.

The British Red Cross and the Refugee Council, which worked with nearly 44,000 people in the asylum process, warn that they are disappearing from hotels and are reluctant to claim support for fear of deportation, detention and other harsh measures.

A Rwandan asylum seeker who contacted the Red Cross in south-east England fearing he could be sent back to the country. He disclosed that he would be in hiding and refraining from accessing support so he is not identified by the authorities.

An Afghan man living in temporary accommodation in the east Midlands who disclosed that he had gone into hiding, fearing that he would be detained and sent to Rwanda. He said that many of his friends were in the same situation and planned to go underground.

An asylum seeker from Ethiopia based in the West Midlands said that he feels anxious about the passing of the Nationality and Borders Act and disclosed he had left his accommodation out of fear that he will be sent to Rwanda.

An Afghan asylum seeker also based in the West Midlands who said he feels he is a second-class refugee as he is not eligible for recent schemes designed to support Ukrainians.

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