February 23, 2024

The deportation debate in Great Britain: Confusion for the Tories

Conservative British immigration minister Robert Jenrick resigned amid controversy over deportations to Rwanda.

Resignation in response to his own government’s emergency bill: Robert Jenrick Photo: Tayfun Salci/dpa

London taz | On Wednesday evening, British Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick resigned in a surprise move amid the Rwandan controversy. Jenrick announced his resignation hours after the draft legislation was released. They intend to deport illegal asylum seekers, particularly those crossing the English Channel on boats from France.

The draft laws, which Home Secretary James cleverly declared on the front page, did not comply with European human rights law, requiring British courts to view Rwanda as a safe third country. Then you are forced to accept this without question.

Also, courts cannot rely on the British Human Rights Regulations of 1998 and the Refugee Convention of 1951 when extraditing to Rwanda.

These clauses are intended to prevent the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg from using what it calls “Rule 39” – an emergency measure. With this instrument, the ECHR blocked a last-minute extradition flight to Rwanda in June 2022, allowing the question of the legality of the extradition to go before all British courts. A safe third country. The British government says the flaws pointed out by the Supreme Court have been addressed in a new deal it signed with Rwanda on Tuesday.

Opposition confirmed in Parliament

But for the former immigration minister, none of this seemed strong enough. He says it won’t prevent lawsuits and appeals from people threatened with deportation. Prime Minister Sunak ignored his objections, he wrote in his letter Resignation notice published on X. Instead, he and advocates such as former Home Secretary Suella Braverman called for Rishi Sunak to be sacked last month for an unsolicited sharp-tongued essay and other inappropriate comments and not to participate in European human rights law.

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Coincidentally, Braverman delivered his farewell address to the House of Commons on Wednesday, a speech reserved for outgoing ministers. In it he publicly criticized Sunak’s policies and said the Tories would be punished at the next election if the new bill on Rwanda was not enacted.

Violating international obligations?

Prime Minister Sunak, in his reply to Genrik, replied that he had fundamentally misunderstood the situation. The Rwandan government has made it clear that it will not take part in the extradition program if it is based on legislation deemed to be in breach of Britain’s international obligations.

This was confirmed by the Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Pruda. This led to an immediate fierce debate from Yvette Cooper, Labour’s shadow home secretary. “The only thing stopping the British government from ignoring international law is the Rwandan government!”

With parliamentary opposition assured in the lower and upper houses, there is no guarantee that the draft law will pass unchanged. British Refugee Council Refugee Council He described the draft law on X as shameful. He treats refugees like human cargo.