Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled that the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda while they wait for their claims to be processed is unlawful.
The Supreme Court was supposed to evaluate whether Rwanda was a safe third country to which asylum seekers could be sent, but the result was no, and therefore the government’s plan is considered illegal.
– There are important reasons to believe that there is a real risk that asylum applications will not lead to the correct result, and that asylum seekers will therefore be exposed to the risk of being returned directly or indirectly to their home country, the ruling states.
The decision was reached unanimously by the court’s five judges.
Boris Johnson’s government first presented the Rwanda plan last year, but the European Court of Human Rights blocked it.
The London Court of Appeal also ruled in April that the arrangements were unlawful because Rwanda was an unsafe country, but the British Home Secretary appealed the ruling to the country’s highest court.
The government stressed that there is a “serious and urgent need” to present the plan, and that the agreement with Rwanda will ensure that asylum seekers are treated well.
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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement that they had reviewed the decision and would consider taking further steps.
– This was not the outcome we wanted, but we have spent the last few months planning for all possible outcomes. “We are absolutely committed to stopping the boats,” says Sunak.
British authorities lost the case when they found that Rwanda was not safe. Sunak believes this is absolutely necessary.
– In principle, the Supreme Court confirmed that it is legal to send illegal immigrants to third countries. “We have to put an end to illegal immigration, and we will do what is necessary,” says the Prime Minister.
A spokesman for the Rwandan authorities, according to Reuters, says that the decision ultimately rests with the British legal system, but:
– We have problems with the decision that Rwanda is not a safe third country for asylum seekers and refugees, says the spokesman.
The background to the bill is the increase in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats each year. More than 45,700 migrants and refugees arrived in the UK on small boats during the perilous Channel crossing last year, an increase of 60 per cent on the previous year.
The British government, led by Prime Minister Sunak, has put a lot of rhetoric around the fact that it wants to reduce this influx of migrants. “Stop the boats” is one of five key promises Sunak has made to try to salvage support for the Conservative Party.
The Rwanda plan has been strongly criticized by human rights groups, the United Nations and the British opposition. They point out, among other things, the human rights situation in Rwanda.
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