The British Medical Association and leading medical bodies in the UK have today jointly written to the Prime Minister expressing concern about the severe impact that the decision to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda is already having on people’s health and wellbeing.
The group of medical bodies say ;
“We are horrified by the UK Government’s plans to forcibly deport people seeking protection in the UK to Rwanda, with no option to return. We urge you abandon this policy of forced expulsions to Rwanda, or any other country.
It is cruel and unconscionable on ethical and medical grounds and has already caused severe damage to individual’s health and wellbeing. The evidence from Medical Justice’s casework makes it clear that the prospect of removal to Rwanda is already exacerbating existing mental health issues for people seeking safety in the UK.
No individual should be forcibly removed to another country for seeking safety and protection in the UK. In addition, the current screening process fails to identify people with specific vulnerabilities, including health conditions.”
A recent report by Medical Justice has documented the experiences of 36 people with whom they have worked and who have been targeted for removal to Rwanda. The 36 include men, women, age disputed children / young people, and some who have family in the UK. Many of these asylum seekers have a history of trafficking, torture and trauma, and have serious mental health conditions, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and psychosis. Some have self-harmed and/or expressed suicidal ideation whilst in detention, including one person who attempted suicide twice whilst in detention.
The letter signed by ;
British Medical Association
Faculty of Public Health International Child Health Group
Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists
Doctors of the World
Freedom from Torture
Helen Bamber Foundation