Inside our Rwanda Information Webinar – 1 May

Events | News

In response to the Home Office’s surprise operation to round up people for the Rwanda flight that began on 29 April, Right to Remain hosted an information webinar on 1 May. 

We were taken aback by the sheer number of people who wanted to join our session. We capped our booking when the number reached 450, and additional 50+ people contacted us directly requesting a place. On this occasion, we opted for a webinar format in order to welcome as many people as possible. By rule, we always prefer interactive workshops – we value building solidarity through relationships while building knowledge. The webinar format and the size of the audience meant that our ability to interact was limited, but we were pleased that 380+ people were able to attend our webinar, when the demand for clear and accurate information about the Safety of Rwanda Act and Treaty was so high. 

We were genuinely heartened by the huge number of people in attendance – who are relatively new to the migration justice movement and asylum and immigration law -, who felt compelled to stand in solidarity with our communities in response to this latest wave of terror. 

During the webinar, our legal education officers took us through the two legal update blogs that we recently published. They are:

And

We received many requests for a recording of the webinar and the slides we used. Bearing mind the evolving nature of the situation, we ask you to instead continue to check our key legal update, What we know about the Rwanda Act and Treaty so far, which we will continue to review and update. 

We then heard from Maggy Moyo, our These Walls Must Fall Organiser, about how our campaigners are supporting each other and taking strength from allies in local areas – including their solidarity gathering outside the Liverpool immigration reporting centre on Tuesday. As there is an increased interest in providing solidarity activities outside the immigration reporting centres, Maggy shared some suggestions for our allies based on our campaigners’ direct experience of reporting. 

  • Reporting is an extremely stressful and vulnerable situation for many people. This should be understood and respected. 
  • If you are providing solidarity presence outside the reporting centres, it will be helpful if you can maintain a warm, approachable and peaceful atmosphere (rather than a noisy, loud presence with chanting). This will increase the confidence of the people who are reporting to speak to the supporters, ask questions and make connections.
  • When speaking with people who are going to report, please be careful about the types of questions you ask them. It is best to avoid intrusive or triggering questions. Also please be mindful when talking about topics such as detention, which many people are terrified of. 
  • When heading to support people at the reporting centre, it’s crucial to bring along informative leaflets that individuals can refer to in case of detention. These leaflets should include guidance on how to get legal advice and get in touch with detainee visitors groups for assistance.
  • Despite the understandable anger, it’s imperative for allies to be mindful of their own safety. While witnessing vans departing with individuals inside is heart-wrenching, it’s empowering to know that those individuals possess essential contact information for support and additional legal guidance, tucked away in their pockets.

To end the webinar, we reintroduced some of our existing Toolkit material, on immigration detention, reporting, how to prepare for detention and signing support. 

Accurate information, explained in a calm, clear manner, helps people to understand what is happening to them, what might happen to them, think about how to prepare for it and what they want to do. We believe that small grassroots groups, with direct, close connections with migrants, are best placed to help them understand their situation, because they trust you and they feel comfortable asking you questions and discussing the situation together.

We repeat – we need to be building a bigger tent, calling for support and solidarity from groups and people around you. We will survive this by making our radical solidarity the norm – and we will create a society that protects everyone.

We all have a huge task ahead – this will be a long battle, it will last far longer than two weeks. Let’s protect and keep each other safe. 

In solidarity,

Right to Remain team

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