Plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda are legal, High Court says

Government plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda are legal, the High Court has said.

Several challenges have been launched against the proposals announced by then Home Secretary Priti Patel in April, which she described as a ‘world’s first deal’ with the East African nation in the aim of dissuading migrants from crossing the Channel.

The first deportation flight – which was due to take off on June 14 – was then stalled amid a series of objections to individual deportations and the policy as a whole.

However, at the High Court in London on Monday, senior judges rejected arguments that plans to provide one-way tickets to the East African nation were illegal.

Demonstrators outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London protesting against the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, which the High Court has now ruled lawful (PA)

Lord Justice Lewis, sitting with Judge Swift, dismissed challenges to the policy as a whole, but ruled in favor of eight asylum seekers, saying the government had acted wrongly in their individual cases.

In a summary of the decision read to the court, Lord Justice Lewis said: “The court has found that it is lawful for the government to make arrangements to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda and to have their claims for asylum are considered in Rwanda rather than in Rwanda. The United Kingdom.”

He added: “The relocation of asylum seekers to Rwanda is in accordance with the Refugee Convention and the statutory and other legal obligations of the government, including the obligations imposed by the Human Rights Act 1998. “.

However, he said the interior minister “did not properly review” the cases of the eight individuals, meaning decisions to send them to Rwanda would be overturned and sent back for reconsideration.

Monday’s decision is likely to be appealed.

Lord Justice Lewis said a further hearing would be held in mid-January to deal with the consequences of the judgment, including costs and requests for referral to the Court of Appeal.

At a five-day hearing in September, lawyers for several asylum seekers – along with the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union and charities Care4Calais and Detention Action – argued the plans were illegal and that Rwanda “tortures and murders those whom it considers to be”. his adversaries.

UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – intervened in the case, telling the court that Rwanda “lacks the irreducible minimum elements of an accessible, reliable, fair and efficient asylum system” and that this policy would create a serious risk of violation of the Refugee Convention.

At a rehearing in October, lawyers for the charity Asylum Aid also challenged the policy, arguing that the procedure is “grossly unfair” and also illegal, with asylum seekers risking deportation without access to legal advice.

The Home Office defended the claims, with lawyers arguing that the memorandum of understanding between the UK and Rwanda provides assurances that anyone sent there will benefit from a status determination procedure “safe and effective” refugee system.

Those deported to Rwanda will receive ‘adequate accommodation’, food, free medical assistance, education, language and vocational training and ‘integration programmes’, judges say , in plans that have cost at least £120million.

Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said, “We welcome this decision and stand ready to offer asylum seekers and migrants safety and the opportunity to build a new life in Rwanda.

“This is a positive step in our quest to provide innovative and long-term solutions to the global migration crisis.”

Both Detention Action and Care4Calais said they were disappointed with the ruling and were considering appealing the ruling.

Detention Action deputy director James Wilson said: “However, we will continue to fight. The Rwandan policy is brutal and harmful.

Care4Calais founder Clare Moseley said: “We remain steadfast in our opposition to Rwandan politics and in our determination to ensure that no refugee is forcibly deported.

Leigh Day’s lawyer, Carolin Ott, who represents Asylum Aid, said the charity “remains seriously concerned that the shortened process which has been adopted to forcibly remove asylum seekers from the UK United means they will be denied effective access to legal advice and to court.”

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