Lawyers Argue Over Legality of Deporting Asylum Seekers to Rwanda
The UK government defended its controversial plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda in a Supreme Court hearing yesterday. The hearing comes in response to a Court of Appeal ruling in June that deemed the multi-million-pound deportation deal unlawful.
Representing the Home Office, Sir James Eadie KC argued that both the UK and Rwanda were committed to the plan, citing “very powerful” practical incentives for Rwanda to comply with the assurances given. He maintained that the policy to remove individuals to a country “less attractive” than the UK, but still considered safe, was legal. Eadie emphasised the government’s “considerable importance” on its deportation policy.
The hearing also addressed concerns raised by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR regarding Rwanda’s history and its asylum system. Sir James acknowledged these concerns, stating that they should not be ignored. In written arguments, he stressed that transfers would only occur with the consent of the Rwandan authorities and would be independently monitored to ensure the safety and effective determination of asylum claims in line with human rights conventions.
Contrary to the government’s position, the UNHCR has expressed reservations about Rwanda’s asylum system, highlighting its lack of accessibility, reliability, fairness, and efficiency. In a written submission, Angus McCullough KC, representing the UNHCR, reiterated the agency’s strong opposition to the transfer of asylum seekers to Rwanda.
The hearing is set to conclude tomorrow, with a judgment expected in the near future. In the meantime, migrants will temporarily return to the Bibby Stockholm asylum barge following an outbreak of Legionella. This move aims to end the use of expensive hotels for accommodating asylum seekers, according to Home Office sources. Story Source