Braverman foiled over Rwanda deportations – for now

Refugee protest
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Appeal court judges in London have ruled the UK government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful, after a legal challenge by migrants and campaigners. Since the ruling, PM Rishi Sunak has pledged to contest the decision.

The judges said home secretary Suella Braverman had not properly considered the circumstances of the eight claimants in the case.


Tackling asylum claims has become a political headache for the Conservative government. Ultimately, their plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda triggered a wave of protests from rights groups and charities, while last-gasp legal challenges successfully blocked the first deportation flights in June 2022.

Several individuals who arrived in small boats, along with organisations supporting migrants, brought a case to the High Court in London. They argued that the policy was unlawful on multiple grounds, including the assessment of Rwanda as a safe third country.

Meanwhile, an unhappy sounding Sunak tweeted about criminal gangs – a common Tory strawman argument in relations to refugees:

The Tories’ cruel plans were dead, according to former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:

Meanwhile, civil rights organisation Liberty said this was a huge blow against the government, but the racist Illegal Immigration Bill must still be opposed:


Dr Shola Mos-Shignamimu took the opportunity to laugh at Braverman’s misfortune and call for the Tories to be prosecuted:

And Labour’s Zarah Sultana called for a powerful pro-refugee movement:

Author Kit Yates said the vast amounts wasted on the deportation plan should be used to pay for public services:

Rwanda ruling

In court, the three judges said they were not satisfied by government assurances:

The deficiencies in the asylum system in Rwanda are such that there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk that persons sent to Rwanda will be returned to their home countries, where they faced persecution or other inhumane treatment.

They added:

In consequence, sending anyone to Rwanda would constitute a breach of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Article 3 itself says:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

It’s true this is a substantial victory for human rights. But we must not forget that the Tories aren’t going to stop their assault on asylum seekers anytime soon.

There’s more to come, and – as Liberty point out – the Tory’s racist immigration bill will still need to be stopped.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Alisdaire Hickson, cropped to 1910 x 1000, licenced under CC BY 2.0.

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