The UK High Court has ruled that Rwanda’s asylum deportation plan is illegal

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LONDON – Britain’s top court ruled on Wednesday against the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda – a goal that has been called for by successive British prime ministers and has been closely watched by other countries. which hopes to exclude migration issues while overriding international human rights obligations.

The ruling gives some relief to asylum seekers already in Britain who have received threatening letters from the government. It is also a major embarrassment for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, leaving his flagship effort to “stop the boats” in tatters, ahead of what will be a difficult election year.

“The High Court unanimously dismisses the appeal of the Secretary of the Interior, and upholds the decision of the Court of Appeal that the policy of Rwanda is illegal,” the judgment said.

“This is because there are substantial grounds for believing that asylum seekers would be at serious risk of ill-treatment [return] to their country of origin if they were to be deported to Rwanda,” he said.

Last year, more than 45,000 people crossed the English Channel from mainland Europe, often in flimsy, landlocked boats. These numbers are getting worse for the British who supported Brexit so that their country could “take back control” of its borders. Sunak has been a key pledge to stop the boats, with Rwanda’s export plan a key element.

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The Illegal Migration Act 2023 sought to prevent those who enter Britain through unofficial means from applying for asylum here. The law placed a legal obligation on officials to detain and return people to their country of birth, if possible, or to a “safe third country,” including Rwanda, where their asylum claims can be processed. process. Once deported, asylum seekers would be barred from re-entering Britain.

The plan, which aimed to be something like keeping and extracting the Australian mandate, is tougher than what other European governments have tried to do so far.

The United Nations previously said Britain’s policy was in breach of international law and set a “worrying precedent for scrapping asylum-related obligations that other countries, Europe and among, to be tempted to follow. “

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The five judges of the UK Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision that the government’s plan was illegal. The top court agreed that if they were returned to their home countries, they could face persecution or other inhumane treatment.

In other words, Britain’s Rwandan policy would violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court’s decision is expected to reignite a debate in Sunak’s Conservative Party over whether Britain should withdraw in whole or in part from that human rights treaty – an agreement the country helped draft and was among the first to confirm.

Sonia Lenegan, an immigration lawyer, said the government could decide to keep its controversial immigration law on the books, but the ruling court is “indefinitely delaying” coming to result It is also possible that the government will try to renegotiate its asylum agreement with Rwanda.

Lenegan suggested that a result, although a loss for the government, may be what some officials wanted. “If they win, they will have to implement the legislation they passed,” she said. “But Rwanda will be at full capacity after accepting a few hundred people. It is difficult to remove people when there is no place to remove them.”

By losing the case, she said, “they will have someone else to blame for not being able to make legislation work and because the boats are not stopping. They can blame the Supreme Court, they can blame lawyers. They can blame someone other than themselves.”

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