Doubts are growing over the feasibility of the government’s Rwanda plan, despite Rishi Sunak’s continued backing for the project.

A recent foreign office report has revealed the extreme poverty and hunger suffered by Rwandans, as half the population are living on less than $2 a day.

Quoted in the Guardian, Toufique Hossain, of Duncan Lewis solicitors, part of the legal team challenging the government’s Rwanda plan in domestic courts and the European court of human rights, has said: “In Rwanda 56.5% of people are living below the international poverty line. The UK government’s obsession with the Rwanda scheme has wasted hundreds of millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money.

“The government wants to transport vulnerable people, who have fled war and persecution, to endure more suffering in a country the UK accepts to be struggling with malnutrition and abject poverty, in circumstances where the UK’s supreme court has declared the country unsafe for those people.”

In the meantime, it appears that flight companies are reluctant to face the opprobrium attached to transporting asylum seekers to the African country. The Financial Times has reported that Rwanda’s state-owned airline has turned down a UK government proposal to transport refugees, as it considered the scheme “brand damaging”.

AirTanker , another airline thought to be in talks over transporting asylum seekers, has been bombarded with 13,000 emails urging it not to take part, according to the charity Freedom From Torture.

Meanwhile, according to the Times, some accommodation originally built to house the refugees has been privately sold to local residents.

However, Rishi Sunak has repeatedly voiced his determination to continue with the policy. Recently, he has also twice threatened to leave the European convention  on human rights over the issue, declaring, “I won’t let a foreign court block our ability to put people on planes and send them to Rwanda. We are a reasonable people trying to do a reasonable thing.” The only European states outside the convention, of which the UK was a founder member, are Russia, Belarus and the Vatican City. Leaving the convention would also undermine the Good Friday agreement, which restored peace to Northern Ireland.