There was uproar in the UK parliament today when the decision of the UK Supreme Court was announced regarding the legality of deporting refugees who arrive illegally in the UK to the African country of Rwanda. This ruling against the government strikes a blow at one of the chief remedies to illegal immigration sought by the ruling Conservative Party.
Lord Reed, the president of the court said “The legal test which has to be applied in this case is whether there are substantial grounds for believing that asylum seekers sent to Rwanda would be at real risk of refoulement–this means sending people back to their home countries where they might be persecuted.
“In the light of the evidence which I have summaries, the Court of Appeal concluded that there were such grounds. We are unanimously of the view that they were entitled to reach that conclusion. Indeed, having been taken through the evidence ourselves, we agree with their conclusion.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s immediate reaction was that the government had not given up on its Rwanda plan, and that necessary tweaks could be made to UK laws and to the treaty between Rwanda and the UK.
Minutes after that ruling, the BBC reported that the Rwanda government issued a statement, saying it “takes issue” with being defined as a territory that is not a safe third country.
“This is ultimately a decision for the UK’s judicial system,” the statement reads.
“However, we do take issue with the ruling that Rwanda is not a safe third country for asylum seekers and refugees, in terms of refoulement. Rwanda and the UK have been working together to ensure the integration of relocated asylum seekers into Rwandan society.
“Rwanda is committed to its international obligations, and we have been recognized by the UNHCR and other international institutions for our exemplary treatment of refugees.
“Throughout this legal process we’ve been busy continuing to deliver progress for Rwandans, and working together with international partners to solve some of the biggest challenges that Africa and the wider the world faces.
“We take our humanitarian responsibilities seriously, and will continue to live up to them.”
James Cleverly, the new home secretary, has also reacted to the Rwanda verdict, and suggests other countries in Europe have been following the UK’s lead on this policy.
“Our partnership with Rwanda, while bold and ambitious, is just one part of a vehicle of measures to stop the boats and tackle illegal migration,” he says.
“But clearly there is an appetite for this concept. Across Europe, illegal migration is increasing and governments are following our lead – Italy, Germany and Austria are all exploring models similar to our partnership with Rwanda.
“We will carefully review today’s judgment to understand implications and next steps.
“We will continue to look at every possible avenue to disrupt the vile criminal gangs’ business model of putting innocent lives at risk for their own financial, selfish gain.”
It is not clear where the UK government intends to go from here. There is some possibility that they may consider sending refugees to countries other than Rwanda.
Source: BBC News .