Inside Story

Why is the UK sending asylum seekers to Rwanda?

Rights groups have condemned the UK government agreement to send some undocumented migrants to Rwanda for processing.

Being smuggled from France to the United Kingdom by boat could earn you a one-way ticket to Rwanda.

This is the British government’s message to undocumented migrants making the dangerous voyage across the English Channel.

An agreement between the UK and Rwanda means single men will be flown to the African country to have their asylum claims processed there.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said action is needed to stop what he calls “vile people smugglers turning the Channel into a watery graveyard”.

Rights groups have compared the agreement to Australia’s “offshore processing” policy, which they have condemned as cruel and illegal under international law.

So will the UK’s agreement work? And can the rights of migrants be protected?


Mohammed Jamjoom


Maya Goodfellow – Academic at the University of Sheffield; author of Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats

Natalie Hodgson – Assistant professor of law at the University of Nottingham

Emilie McDonnell – UK advocacy and communications coordinator at Human Rights Watch

Kolbassia Haoussou –  Director of survivor empowerment at Freedom from Torture