The term "extraordinary rendition" entered the language a few years ago to describe the practice of enforcing, without legal process, the removal of people from one jurisdiction to another, when the US did it to so-called "suspected terrorists".

Is the term wide enough to describe what the British government is now attempting to do by sending illegal migrants, against their will, to Rwanda?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – CDJB
    Jun 23 at 9:24

2 Answers 2


If "extraordinary rendition" does mean "the practice of enforcing, without legal process, the removal of detained individuals from one jurisdiction to another" then no, the removals to Rwanda are not "extraordinary rendition".

Because, whatever one thinks of the policy, there is a legal process, there is statute providing for the process, and some removals have been halted by the courts.

(Incidentally extraordinary rendition was part of a larger program that involved indefinite detention in 'black-sites', torture and murder.)

  • 1
    I have downvoted, for the reason that we really have little knowledge about what leaving people in Rwanda will amount to. For all we know it could involve "black sites, torture and murder". The government has not given any indication how, if at all, the welfare of such abandonees will be monitored.
    – WS2
    Jun 20 at 15:34
  • 7
    @WS2 This is beginning to look like a push question with you fishing for a certain answer.
    – Joe W
    Jun 20 at 15:43
  • 4
    @WS2 Ultimately the removal can be described as rendition but not extraordinary rendition, because by definition extraordinary rendition is done outside the law and these removals are not.
    – Lag
    Jun 20 at 16:12
  • 3
    @WS2 "For the time being the ECHR has intervened and prevented a flight taking place." - so there was a legal ruling and the the UK gov obeyed it? But nevertheless you seem to think that is equivalent to what we know of as "extraordinary rendition", which you yourself defined as "the practice of enforcing, without legal process, the removal ..." (my emphasis). Because you are playing with "extraordinary" and pushing your view as opposed to asking in good faith?
    – Lag
    Jun 20 at 16:25
  • 2
    @phoog Re definition, I tried to answer according to what I perceived to be the essential part of the definition in the question: "the practice of enforcing, without legal process, the removal ... " - but in retrospect my answer wasn't wholly clear.
    – Lag
    Jun 21 at 8:40

You are free to use (or misuse) terms as you like. Consider the Russian government defining the ongoing war in Ukraine as a "special miltiary operation". However, you may not always find it easy to get an audience to agree with you.

As a point of reference, the term "rendition" has certainly been used by commentators on Australia's policy of offshore processing of assylum seekers. In detail, these pieces have tended to be intentionally somewhat hyperbolic, but have drawn analogy with the CIA's techniques, as well as pointing out the similarities.

Overall, if you choose to use the metaphor, you should recognise that it is not a one-to-one correspondence, that there are gradations in the deplorable, and that you run the risk of alienating your audience to your potential underlying message.

  • 1
    From the sound of that guardian article, the AUS policy would be "rendition", with the practice having instances where it was "extraordinary", e.g. the alleged secret flight bypassing a court.
    – Caleth
    Jun 22 at 15:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .