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Sunak’s Rwanda deportation scheme hits roadblock in House of Lords

By IGIHE
On 23 January 2024 at 08:01

In a significant blow to the United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda deportation plan, the House of Lords has voted 214 to 171, majority 43, in favor of delaying a treaty with Rwanda.

The unprecedented move, led by the Lords International Agreements Committee (IAC), aims to scrutinize the proposed asylum scheme and ensure the safety of deported individuals.

The government agreed to a legally-binding treaty with Rwanda in December, addressing concerns raised by the Supreme Court about potential risks faced by asylum seekers deported to Rwanda.

However, the Lords IAC deemed the promised safeguards in the agreement "incomplete" and insisted that Parliament should not ratify the pact until the government can demonstrate Rwanda’s safety.

Labour former attorney general Lord Goldsmith, chair of the IAC, emphasized the need for additional legal and practical steps, stating, "Parliament should have the opportunity to scrutinize the treaty and its implementing measures in full before it makes a judgment about whether Rwanda is safe."

The vote signals a challenging road ahead for the government’s Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, as the Lords assert their role in scrutinizing and advising on such crucial matters.

The debate surrounding the Rwanda Bill is set to continue in the House of Lords on January 29.


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