RWANDA: An internal safety document reveals that the Home Office was informed that its Rwanda policy increased the number of asylum seekers reporting feeling suicidal and disappearing from hotel accommodations.
The Home Office has been criticized by Labour peer Helena Kennedy KC for continuing the policy despite knowing how much harm it was doing to people.
Two weeks after the former home secretary, Priti Patel announced the Rwanda deal, Home Office officials asked housing contractors, including those from Serco and Clearsprings, how asylum seekers were reacting to the news about the deal, according to the minutes of an internal Home Office safeguarding board meeting on April 27, 2022.
The contractors replied that they had noticed a rise in self-harm threats among asylum seekers and that some had already checked out of hotels.
The Scottish Refugee Council’s minutes got through a request for information, quote a contractor as saying: “It has certainly raised tensions within the service user population. There has been a steady trend of service users saying they could potentially harm themselves if facing the prospect of Rwanda. This was from all demographics of the group.”
Medical professionals, attorneys, and human rights activists repeatedly state the danger of being transferred to Rwanda as substantially harming the health of those seeking asylum.
According to research released by Medical Justice in September, some asylum seekers’ risk of suicide increased when they were threatened with deportation to Rwanda.
Independent physicians interviewed 36 asylum seekers, and of them, 26 had signs that they had been tortured before coming to the UK, 15 had signs of PTSD, 11 had suicidal ideation, and one had made two suicide attempts.