Humanists UK condemns Rwanda’s blasphemy laws amid immigration bill approval

23 April, 2024

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill finally passed through parliament last night after weeks of parliamentary ping-pong, despite the fact that Rwanda’s blasphemy laws raise significant human rights concerns for the non-religious and religious minorities.

The legislation passed last night asserts Rwanda as a ‘safe country’ overriding a Supreme Court ruling against this fact. Humanists UK has repeatedly raised concerns about Rwanda’s blasphemy laws where individuals accused of blasphemy can face imprisonment and/or fines. 

Humanists UK is deeply concerned about the wider human rights implications of the bill, especially considering we have seen first-hand by working with humanist asylum seekers who have been persecuted because of their beliefs, the difficulties they face. Those who have left high control religions (often referred to as apostates) and who are claiming asylum on this basis are particularly vulnerable to being subject to blasphemy laws as they risk being accused of blasphemy when making their asylum claim and/or after resettlement when expressing their beliefs and living authentically. At their Annual General meeting in 2022 members of Humanists UK called for the policy of deporting asylum claimants to Rwanda to be brought to an end, describing the policy ‘dehumanising and immoral’. With the bill now passed, Humanists UK remains vigilant, expressing ongoing concerns about the potential impact on asylum seekers affected by Rwanda’s blasphemy laws.

Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson said:

‘Rwanda’s blasphemy laws represent a clear violation of fundamental human rights, ignoring the vital principle of freedom of religion and belief to which we are all entitled. Passing legislation that designates Rwanda as a ‘safe country’ disregards these concerns and puts asylum seekers at risk. We will continue to campaign to make sure that freedom of religion and belief and fundamental human rights are given to all.’


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 07534 248 596.

Read more about our work on freedom of religion and belief.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 120,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.