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Response to the Safety of Rwanda Asylum and Immigration Act 2024

Lewisham is proud to be the UK’s first Borough of Sanctuary. We have a long history of supporting sanctuary seekers and are an open and welcoming borough. We welcome those fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries and protect the rights of all migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

The decision to detain vulnerable people within our community with a view to removing them to Rwanda goes fundamentally against our values as a Borough of Sanctuary. Lewisham Council is working closely with local partners to ensure that those at risk of detention have access to the support and information that they need.

Brenda Dacres, Mayor of Lewisham said:

“We are extremely concerned to learn that the Home Office has begun to detain people seeking asylum with a view to removing them to Rwanda. We stand in solidarity with our residents who are seeking asylum and with those who are starting to receive ‘notices of intent’ from the Home Office for their removal. We call on the government to end this expensive, cruel, and divisive policy which causes worry and fear among our sanctuary seekers and wider community. We will not let our community be divided.

“We are proud of our track record, working with partners to best support our sanctuary seekers to build new lives here in Lewisham. People seeking asylum are welcome in our borough and are part of our community.”

If you are detained, you can contact these numbers for legal advice and information:

Action for Refugees in Lewisham (AFRIL): 0208 297 4111 info@afril.org.uk

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants: 0207 553 7472 info@jcwi.org.uk Monday/Tuesday/Thursday 10am – 1pm)

Detention Action: 0800 587 2096

Bail for Immigration Detainees: 020 7456 9750 (Mon to Thurs 10-12)

Care4Calais Rwanda: 07519 773268 (WhatsApp)

Care4Calais Detention: 0800 009 6268

Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group: 0800 389 4367

Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants: 0800 160 1004

Rainbow Migration: for queer and trans people facing removal hello@rainbowmigration.org.uk

If you are told you will be deported to Rwanda, you can appeal this decision and contact:

Wilson Solicitors LLP: 0208 808 7535 rwandareferrals@wilsonllp.co.uk

Duncan Lewis Solicitors: 02072752570 toufiqueh@duncanlewis.com

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