By BERNA NAMATA
Asylum seekers and refugee charity organisations have won a Court of Appeal challenge against the UK government’s plans to deport illegal migrants arriving on small boats to Rwanda.
The London Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling that said in December that the deal is lawful and does not violate the Refugee Convention or human rights laws.
Announcing the decision on Thursday, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk that persons sent to Rwanda would be returned to their home countries, where they were fleeing from.
This week, the UK’s conservative government revealed that the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda would cost £169,000 ($215,035) per person.
The UK government has maintained that it is ready to continue to defend the policy against any legal challenge.
Recently, the UK and Rwanda signed an addendum to the original memorandum of understanding (MoU) allowing the transfer of people that have not claimed asylum in the UK. The original MoU had limited it to illegal migrants seeking asylum in the UK arriving on small boats from France.
The addendum also includes assurances as to the treatment of relocated individuals, monitored by the Joint Committee and the Monitoring Committee, established under the agreement.
After the ruling Thursday, Rwanda said it remained committed to the plan.
“Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work,” government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo told AFP. “While this is ultimately a decision for the UK’s judicial system, we do take issue with the ruling that Rwanda is not a safe country for asylum seekers and refugees.”
(Source: The East African)