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:
It is this country – and your government – who should decide who comes here, not criminal gangs.
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My statement on today’s ruling 👇 pic.twitter.com/VMvYBbs0Oz
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) June 29, 2023
The Tories’ cruel plans were dead, according to former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:
Suella Braverman's dream of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is dead.
Now let's fight for the dreams of refugees by helping them rebuild their lives in dignity, safety and peace. pic.twitter.com/a5zcZoWtTS
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 29, 2023
Meanwhile, civil rights organisation Liberty said this was a huge blow against the government, but the racist Illegal Immigration Bill must still be opposed:
While we celebrate today’s win there is still work to do
We will continue to stand against the Gov’s Illegal Migration Bill which entrenches the hostile environment and would allow those in power to commit human rights abuses without consequencehttps://t.co/bT5l68k1Af
— Liberty (@libertyhq) June 29, 2023
Dr Shola Mos-Shignamimu took the opportunity to laugh at Braverman’s misfortune and call for the Tories to be prosecuted:
Who’s laughing now Cruella?
Suella Braverman & Priti ‘Deport Dem’ Patel evil policy against asylum seekers ruled UNLAWFUL!
Tory Govt should be prosecuted & personally refund money wasted on Rwanda
Britain elects morally bankrupt idiots & expects the world to take it seriously pic.twitter.com/xPzq3wL0lj
— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) June 29, 2023
And Labour’s Zarah Sultana called for a powerful pro-refugee movement:
Suella Braverman says she "dreams" of deporting refugees to Rwanda.
I hope today's court ruling puts an end to that dream.
But the courts alone can't defeat Braverman's politics.
The only thing that will is a powerful pro-refugee, anti-racist movement.
Let's build it 👊🏽
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) June 29, 2023
Author Kit Yates said the vast amounts wasted on the deportation plan should be used to pay for public services:
I find this astonishing.
The government are planning to waste huge amounts of money on this vindictive, ineffective, populist policy.
How about instead we give public sector workers the pay rise they deserve.https://t.co/xtf2zzrEiM
— Kit Yates (@Kit_Yates_Maths) June 29, 2023
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.
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.Support us and go ad-free
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