February 23, 2024

Planning for the “emergency law”: Sunak sticks to Rwanda’s plans

As of: November 15, 2023 at 8:20 p.m

Deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda is illegal according to the decision of the High Court in London. However, British Prime Minister Sunak wants to stick to the plan, and plans to classify Rwanda as a safe third country.

After defeat in court in the dispute over the asylum deal with Rwanda, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants to implement the plans through “emergency legislation”. The aim is to prevent another blockage of the court in Great Britain or by the European Court of Human Rights, Sunak said at a press conference in London. His government wants to implement planned flights to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda in the spring of 2024.

Rwanda is classified as a safe third country

“I will not allow a foreign court to stop these flights,” Sunak said. According to commentators, this may indicate that the Conservative government wants to leave the European Convention on Human Rights or may simply ignore the rulings of the Strasbourg court.

In the summer of 2022, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg halted the only scheduled flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda with a last-minute interim order. Sunak said he would also use planned “emergency legislation” to ensure Rwanda is designated as a safe third country by Parliament in London. The Prime Minister said: “I will do what is necessary to get these flights off the ground.”

Asylum seekers are at risk

The UK Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the government’s controversial plan to deport migrants to Rwanda is illegal. The five-member jury unanimously upheld the June appeal ruling that cast doubt on the safety of asylum seekers in Rwanda.

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The court statement said there was reason to believe that there was a real risk that asylum applications in Rwanda would not be adequately processed. Asylum seekers are thus at risk of being returned to their countries of origin. Moreover, we should not trust Rwanda’s promise not to subject asylum seekers to ill-treatment. The court pointed to the country’s poor human rights record.

The central project of the Sunak government

The United Kingdom signed an agreement with Rwanda in April 2022. According to this, asylum seekers arriving in Great Britain via the English Channel, regardless of their origin, must be sent to the East African country where their asylum applications must be processed. They will either then be granted asylum there or they will have to try to remain in Rwanda with a different status or apply in another country.

Prime Minister Sunak’s government said the plan would deter people from risking their lives by crossing the English Channel. It would also help in taking action against smuggling gangs. The plan was a major plan of the Sunak government, but it has not yet been implemented due to complaints against it.

The government said in court that it carefully assessed the risks. This would ensure that the Government of Rwanda adheres to its commitment to protecting the rights of migrants.

Christophe Brussel, ARD London, Tagesschau, 16 November 2023, 6:24 am