UK court rules plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda ’unlawful’

On 29 June 2023 at 11:18

The United Kingdom (UK) Court of Appeal has declared that the government’s plan to deport migrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful.

The court ruled against the deportation scheme under the Migration and Economic Development Partnership, a bilateral agreement signed between Rwanda and the UK in April of last year.

This agreement mandated the UK to provide an upfront investment of £120 million to fund various opportunities for both Rwandans and migrants, such as secondary qualifications, vocational training, language lessons, and higher education.

Initially, the deportation arrangement aimed to deter illegal crossings into the UK and reduce the annual budget allocated for handling illegal migrants. In a bid to expand support for deportations, Rwanda and the UK signed an additional agreement earlier this year.

The intention was to ensure that upon arrival in Rwanda, asylum seekers from African countries and other regions would be treated with dignity, similar to Rwandans. The plan included providing assistance for those willing to return to their home countries.

The scheduled arrival of the first group of migrants in Rwanda was originally set for July 2022.

However, this deadline was extended following a complaint filed by organizations advocating for migrants’ rights.

In December 2022, the High Court in the UK initially ruled in favor of the country’s deportation policy, allowing the implementation of the migration and economic development partnership.

However, campaigners contested this decision and brought the case to the Court of Appeal, which has now ruled against the deportation plans.

According to The Telegraph, three judges from the Court of Appeal reached a majority decision of two to one, stating that Rwanda does not qualify as a safe country for asylum seekers.

Consequently, the court deemed the deportation of migrants to Rwanda for the purpose of claiming asylum to be unlawful.

This ruling contradicts the stance of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary, Suella Braverman who had repeatedly defended the deportation plan, highlighting Rwanda’s track record in effectively managing refugee and migrant crisis.

In response to the ruling, reports indicate that the Prime Minister and Home Secretary are expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

This decision comes at a time when Rwanda has initiated the construction of approximately 40,000 permanent homes, with a portion of them designated for migrants removed from the UK.

UK Court of Appeal has ruled that the plan to deport migrants to Rwanda ’is unlawful’.