Full view of bus with Big Ben 5 credit Christopher Gunson, Together With Refugees

We stand in condemnation of the disturbing Rwanda scheme: our coalition letter to the Editor

As leaders from all over the world prepare for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and on World Refugee Day, over 170 organisations signed a letter to the Editor published in today’s Independent.

These included groups led by refugees, human rights organisations, international development agencies, major faiths, women’s groups and regional and local service and campaign NGOs from all over the UK. You can view our letter and signatories below:

Leaders from across the globe are preparing for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that starts in Rwanda today – World Refugee Day. Yet, in a contradiction to the vision of ‘a Commonwealth that is mutually respectful, resilient, peaceful and prosperous and that cherishes equality, diversity and shared values’ the UK government persists with its plan to send asylum seekers and refugees on a one-way flight to the same African state.

This disturbing new scheme to send those seeking safety in the UK to Rwanda in exchange for cash, targets people simply because of how they arrived here irrespective of their need for protection. Britain is not only flouting international law, but it is failing to protect its share of people fleeing other countries from around the world.

Rather than this outdated and offensive stance, Britain must step up as a leader, take responsibility on the global stage and end this shameful scheme, instead opening safe routes for asylum seekers and refugees to find protection in the UK and building a fair and orderly asylum system.

Amanda Church-Mcfarlane, Co-CEO, Abigail Housing 

Waad al-Kateab, Co-Founder, Action For Sama

Duncan McAuley, CEO, Action Foundation

Liz Windsor-Welsh, CEO, Action Together CIO

Fahim Zazai, Manager, Afghan Community and Welfare Centre 

Chizobam Obumneme Ekenna, General Manager, African Community Centre

Aderonke Apata, Founder and CEO, African Rainbow Family

Imogen McIntosh, Director, Aid Box Community 

Graeme Hodge, CEO, All We Can

Frances Walker, Head of English, Archway Learning Trust

Salma Zulfiqar, Founder and Director, ARTconnects

Ewan James Roberts, Centre Manager, Asylum Link Merseyside

Doreen Hengari, Director, Asylum Seekers And Refugee Support Sanctuary 

Mark Goldring, Director, Asylum Welcome

Sarah Magill, Director and Trustee, Azadi Charity

Revd. Lynn Green, General Secretary, Baptist Union of Great Britain

Claire Clift, Chair of Trustees, Bath Welcomes Refugees

Fiona Vale, Service Manager, (Basic Educational Guidance in Notinghamshire)

Evie Booton, Communications and Campaigns Coordinator, Big Leaf Foundation

Dr David Brown, Chair, Birmingham City of Sanctuary 

Nicole Port Louis, Teacher of Physics, Bluecoat Academy

Ivana Mancic, EAL Academic Coach, Bluecoat Aspley Academy

Andrew Wyatt, Lead Teacher of Mathematics, Bluecoat Wollaton Academy

Ros Holland, CEO, Boaz Trust

Amanda Mortimer, Volunteer, Bradford Immigration & Asylum Support & Advice Network 

Matthew Powell, CEO, Breaking Barriers

Beth Wilson, CEO, Bristol Refugee Rights

Yvonne Rendell, Chair, Bromsgrove and Redditch Welcome Refugees

Mary Stretch, Director, Calais Light

Amber Ray, Communications Specialist, Calderdale Valley of Sanctuary

Catharine Walston, Chair of Executive, Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group

Catharine Walston, Trustee, Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign

Dr Mohamed Ali, Chair, Canterbury Muslim Cultural Centre 

Eleanor Brown, CEO, CARAS

Clare Moseley, Founder, Care4Calais

James Cartwright, Chair, Carlisle Refugee Action Group 

Rachel Lesiter, Chorleywood4Refugees

Joanna Schüder, Refugee Networking Officer, Christian Concern for One World

Most Reverend Andrew John, Archbishop of Wales, Church in Wales

Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland

Bishop Mike Royal, General Secretary, Churches Together in England 

Rachel Hattingh, Members Manager, Citizens of the World Choir

Thomas Martin, Director, City of Sanctuary Sheffield

Stella Barnes, Creative Director, Community Arts North West

Colette Batten-Turner, Founding Executive Director, Conversation Over Borders

Almir Koldzic, Director, Counterpoints Arts

Laura Marziale, Founder and Director, Creating Ground

Sally Hyman, Founder and trustee, CRIBS International

Patrick Coyle, Chair of the Board, Cytûn Churches Together in Wales

Riana Brown, Group Communications Manager, Daughters of Charity Services

Jonathan Ellis, Project Director, Detention Forum

John Arnold, Bishop, Diocese of Salford

jan foster, Trustee, Doncaster Conversation Club

Jeannie Tweedie, Director, Elmbridge CAN

Stephanie Habib, Project Development Manager, English for Action London

Awder Ahmed, Share Tawe Project Officer, Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Wales 

Trish Chipman, Committee member, Farnham Help for Refugees 

Dr Valerie Jeffries, Trustee, Faversham and Villages Refugee Solidarity Group

Maire Greaney, Secretary & Trustee, Flintshire City of Sanctuary

Amber Bauer, CEO, ForRefugees

Sonya Sceats, CEO, Freedom From Torture

Elizabeth Slade, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches

Naomi Webb, Executive Director, Good Chance Theatre

Richard Hargreaves, Editor, Grassington and District Peace Group

Denise McDowell, CEO, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU)

Caroline Burnett, Founder, Guildford Refugee Aid

Polly Gifford, Co-Chair, Hastings Community of Sanctuary

Jane Grimshaw, Convener, Hastings Supports Refugees 

Ailsa Dunn, Secretary, Hay, Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees

Angus Clark, CEO, Herts for Refugees

Roger Wilson, Trustee, Hope and Aid Direct

Philip Howell, Drop in leader, Hope cafe refugee drop in 

Phil Davis, Director, Hope Projects

John Weaving, Member, Human race

Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director, Human Rights Watch

Maddie Harris, Director, Humans for Rights Network

Mary Solomon, Chair, Humans of Wolverhampton (HOW)

Nicole Francis, CEO, Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association

Laura Kyrke-Smith, UK Executive Director, International Rescue Committee

Sophie Cartwright, Senior Policy Officer, Jesuit Refugee Service UK

Aaron Barbour, CEO, Katherine Low Settlement

Jo Taylor, Chair, Kent Kindness

Brad Collier, Director, Larner Associates

Rose McCarthy, Volunteer, Leeds City of Sanctuary 

Jean Gould, Trustee, Lewes Organisation in Support of Refugees and Aasylum Seekers

Rosario Guimba-Stewart, CEO, Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network

Rabbi Charley Baginsky, CEO, Liberal Judaism

Paul Streets, CEO, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales

Mariam Yusuf, Management Committee Member, Manchester Migrant Solidarity

Alexander Leeson Francis-Palmer, General Advice Coordinator, Manchester Refugee Support Network

Nicola Monk, Trustee, Marlow Refugee Action

Jonathan Wttenberg, Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism

maureen sier, Director, Maureen Sier

Nina Houghton, group member, Merseyside Solidarity Knows no Borders

Revd. Ian Rutherford, City Centre Minister, Methodist Central Hall Manchester

Revd. Sonia Hicks, President of the Conference, Methodist Church in Britain 

Nazek Ramadan, Executive Director, Migrant Voice

Frank Kamau, Manager, Mojatu Foundation

Lis Murphy, Creative Director & Founder, Music Action International

Zara Mohammed, Secretary-General, Muslim Council of Britain

Bridget Young, Director, The No Accommodation Network

Lord (Indarjit) Singh of Wimbledon, Director Network of Sikh Organisations UK, Network of Sikh Organisations UK

Rachel McPeake, Project Administrator, North East Law Centre

Mishka Pillay, One Strong Voice

Marian Pallister, Chair, Pax Christi Scotland

Rose Caldwell, CEO, Plan International UK

Natalia Byer, Programme Manager, Polish Migrants Organise for Change

Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Praxis 

Meirion Morris, General Secretary, Presbyterian Church of Wales

Dawn Judd, Chair, Preston City of Sanctuary 

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain

Elizabeth Allen, Clerk, General Meeting for Scotland, Quakers in Scotland

Jabeer Butt OBE, CEO, Race Equality Foundation

Anna Jones , Co-Founder and CEO, RefuAid

Tim Naor Hilton, CEO, Refugee Action

Sarah Fenby-Dixon, Trustee, Refugee Aid Network 

Nathan Sperry, Operations Manager, Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex & London 

Ruhi Akhtar, Chairperson, Refugee Biriyani & Bananas 

Rich Snaith, Treasurer, Refugee Compassion

Enver Solomon, CEO, Refugee Council

Efi Stathopoulou, Programmes Manager, Refugee Legal Support

Nick Harborne, CEO, Refugee Support Group and Reading City of Sanctuary

Jonny Willis, CEO, Refugee Youth Service

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, René Cassin the Jewish voice for human rights 

Jeremy Thompson, Manager, Restore – a project of Birmingham Churches Together

Haytham Alhamwi, Manager, Rethink Rebuild Society

Eiri Ohtani, Director, Right to Remain

M.H.Khan, Founder & CEO, Rohingya Youths for Society Change-RYSC

Daisy Jacobs, Co-Founder and Director, Routes

Beth Gardiner-Smith, CEO,Safe Passage International

Gwen Hines, CEO, Save the Children

Karen Dobson, CEO, Scotswood Garden

Bishop Mark Strange, Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness, and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Scottish Episcopal Church

Sabir Zazai, CEO, Scottish Refugee Council

Angie Pedley, Treasurer, Settle Area Refugee Support group

Chris Hix, Trustee, Sevenoaks Welcomes Refugees

Margaret Roche, Manager, Share Knowsley

Liz Morgan, Trustee/Treasurer, Side by Side Refugees

Ruth Cape, Development Manager, South East Integration Network

Nikki Walters, Chair, Southampton Action

Mark Courtice, Chair of the Trustees, Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group 

Liz Needham, Chair of Trustees, St Albans for Refugees

Abigail Martin, Manager, St Chad’s Sanctuary 

Maja Moller, Coordinator, St Thomas Church Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Network Lancaster

Amber Ray, Communications Manager, St. Augustine’s Centre Halifax

Bernadette McAliskey, Co-Ordinator, South Tyrone Empowerment Programme

Sandra J Morton, Chair, Swansea Asylum Seekers Support

Kathryn Williams, Secretary, Swansea City of Sanctuary

Nicola Wood, Charity Manager, Swindon City of Sanctuary

Revd Louis James Johnson, Assistant Curate, Team Parish of St Luke in the City, Diocese of Liverpool

Satinder Collins, Chair, Tees Valley of Sanctuary

Anna Lagoyianni, Volunteer Coordinator, The Grewoenhouse Multi Cultural Arts and Play Project

Elaine Ortiz, Founder-Director, The Hummingbird Project

Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, The Jewish Council for Racial Equality (JCORE)

Barbara Easton, Vice-President, The Methodist Church in Britain

Revd S M Slaney, Chair of District, The Methodist Church in Scotland

Bethany, Head of Music, The Nottingham Emmanuel School

Iris Lightfoote, CEO, The Race Equality Centre

Nicolas Hatton, CEO, the3million

Sue Lacey, Founder, Together100 

Archie Ford, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland 

Revd Clare Downing, Moderator of General Assembly, United Reformed Church

Dr Moira Dustin, Lecturer, University of Sussex

Mel Steel, Director, Voices in Exile

Sonja Miley, Co-Executive Director, Waging Peace

Florence Andrews, Co-chair, Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees

Emily Shepherd and Sue Butler, Joint CEOs, Welcome Churches

Mr Andrew Harwood, Project Manager, Welcome Group Halesowen

Susie Ventris-Field, CEO, Welsh Centre for International Affairs

Andrea Cleaver, CEO, Welsh Refugee Council

Hannah Barnes, Director, West End Refugee Service

Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, Women’s Budget Group 

Rachel Kelly, CEO, Women’s Health Matters

Paul Anticoni, CEO, World Jewish Relief

Jo Cobley, CEO, Young Roots