Will appeal court’s decision to strike down Rwanda policy, says U.K. PM Rishi Sunak

The ‘Rwanda policy’ as it is known, is part of the British government’s “stop the boats” strategy, i.e., a plan to deter migrants seeking asylum in the U.K. after crossing the English Channel

June 29, 2023 10:53 pm | Updated June 30, 2023 11:56 am IST - LONDON

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. In a blow to the Sunak government, the U.K. Court of Appeal has ruled against a government plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda. File

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. In a blow to the Sunak government, the U.K. Court of Appeal has ruled against a government plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda. File | Photo Credit: AP

In a blow to the Rishi Sunak government, the U.K. Court of Appeal has ruled against a government plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda. Mr. Sunak has said he will seek to appeal the decision in the country’s Supreme Court.

Mr Sunak said that while he respects the court he “fundamentally” disagrees with their conclusions. He said he believed “there is no real risk” that those asylees who are relocated to Rwanda would be sent to third countries.  

The ‘Rwanda policy’ as it is known, is part of the British government’s “stop the boats” strategy, i.e., a plan to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel to enter the U.K. The policy — which seeks to send potential asylees to Rwanda while their applications are adjudicated — applies to other asylum seekers in the U.K. as well. The U.K. High Court had ruled last December that it was legal — a decision which was appealed by a charity, Asylum Aid.  

The High Court’s ruling that Rwanda was a safe country was overturned by a 2: 1 majority verdict in the Court of Appeals on Thursday. The Lord Chief Justice dissented from the majority.

The court said there were “substantial grounds” for believing that individuals sent to Rwanda would be returned to their home countries where they face persecution or inhumane treatment when they in fact have a good claim for asylum.

“…The high court’s decision that Rwanda was a Safe Third Country is reversed and that unless and until the deficiencies in its asylum processes are corrected, removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda will be unlawful,” one of the judges said.

Also Read | Explained: The U.K.-Rwanda asylum plan 

  The judge also said that the decision was not a comment on the political merit or otherwise of the Rwanda policy. “Those are entirely a matter for government,” he said.

“Rwanda is a safe country. The High Court agreed. The UNHCR have their own refugee scheme for Libyan refugee in Rwanda,” the Prime Minister said.

“Today is a good day for people smugglers. It is a good day for Labour,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman told the House of Commons on Thursday.

Also Read | Suella Braverman: Anti-immigrant hardliner

A bill to tackle illegal migration is currently with the U.K. Parliament.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.