High court rules Rwanda policy is lawful but refers 8 cases to Braverman

Law and Justice Policy & Politics

The High Court has ruled it is lawful for the UK government to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. The High Court also ruled in favour of eight asylum seekers who were set to have been on the first flight from the UK to Rwanda in June.

Judges found that the eight individual cases had not been “properly considered” by officials and referred them back to home secretary Suella Braverman.

An appeal is expected to be lodged by the charities that challenged the legitimacy of the controversial Rwanda policy in the High Court. There, judges ruled the policy does not breach the United Nations’ refugee convention or human rights laws.

The judgement has put the government “on a collision course with the European courts”, reports the Telegraph. Detention Action, Action4Calais and Asylum Aid charities, along with the PCS union (representing Border Force staff), said they are considering seeking an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

In the summer the ECHR blocked the first flight to Rwanda which was due to take three asylum seekers. That injunction will remain in place until appeals have been heard.

Monday’s ruling by the High Court that eight asylum seekers due to be deported had not had their cases properly assessed has raised concern on Conservative benches. Tory MPs have warned it means human rights lawyers can still challenge the removal of people from the UK to Rwanda even though the policy has been found to be lawful.

To get around this, the government is considering new “tougher” legislation which will also help them “circumvent” rulings made by the ECHR, the Telegraph reports. Clauses could include directions to “British courts to ignore ECHR rulings in specific cases”.

In the Commons, home secretary Braverman told MPs she remains “committed” to sending UK asylum seekers to east Africa. Priti Patel unveiled the policy in April.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Coooper said the Rwanda policy is “unworkable, extortionate and deeply damaging”.

The SNP’s home affairs spokeperson at Westminster, Alison Thewlis said the plan is “deeply immoral”. In June, King Charles – then Pqrince of Wales – called it “appalling”.

Sunak – ‘Rwanda is just a part of our policy’

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said he “welcomed” the High Court’s decision having “always maintained our Rwanda policy is lawful”.

“This is just one part of our plan to tackle illegal migration,” Sunak told reporters, referring to last week’s big immigration announcement and, the PM said, “stopping the boats from coming to the UK”.

“It’s not going to be easy and we’re not going to be able to do it overnight, but I’m confident that with the steps I laid out last week, we really can get to grips with illegal migration.”

Sunak repeated his aim to create the system where “if you come to the UK illegally, you do not have the right to stay.”

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