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In The Press

Government’s Grant of Asylum to Rwandans ‘Confirms Safety Fears About the Country’, Duncan Lewis Tells iNews (18 January 2024)

Date: 18/01/2024
Duncan Lewis, InThePress Solicitors, Government’s Grant of Asylum to Rwandans ‘Confirms Safety Fears About the Country’, Duncan Lewis Tells iNews

The Government's recent granting of asylum to vulnerable Rwandans confirms the Supreme Court's ruling that removing people there would be “unlawful,” Duncan Lewis’ public law team told iNews. Six people from Rwanda have been granted asylum in Britain since the deportation deal with the country was signed in 2022, the paper revealed this weekend.

This includes two men from Rwanda who were offered a grant of protection by the Home Office in 2022, and a woman who received the same in 2023. Government data shows at least one decision was related to sexual orientation. One is thought to have been granted asylum for speaking out against the Rwandan government, which could undermine the appeals component of Mr Sunak’s Safety of Rwanda Bill.

The bill was drawn up in response to the Supreme Court judgment in November, supporting an earlier Court of Appeal ruling that the original policy was unlawful. Our public law team told iNews it was “quite clearly further illustration of what has been confirmed by the UK Supreme Court – that Rwanda’s human rights record is such that removing people there would be unlawful.”

The Court of Appeal handed down its judgement in AAA & Ors in June 2022, concerning the lawfulness of the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s policy to remove asylum-seekers to Rwanda and for their claims to be determined there. The court found that the policy is unlawful.

Duncan Lewis represented seven of the appellants, all of whom were due to be removed on the first scheduled flight in June 2022.

The agreement between the UK government and Rwanda, and the assurances provided as part of this, could not ‘wipe away’ the structural issues that have led to past human rights violations in the Central African country.

The court found there are substantial grounds for believing there is a real risk to asylum seekers removed under the scheme being subject to inhuman or degrading treatment. In November 2023 the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal, confirming that Rwanda is not a safe destination for the UK to transfer asylum seekers for the processing of their claims.

A Rwandan refugee granted asylum in the UK told the newspaper that the country is “not really safe and it doesn’t respect human rights”. The UK Parliament voted on the current Rwanda Bill this The government presents this bill as a landmark in immigration law, arguing that it is the strictest to date.

However, there is a divide within the Conservative Party over the bill. Some MPs, particularly those on the party's right, argue that the bill doesn't go far enough in its current form. The outcome is anticipated to have significant implications for the UK's immigration policy and its adherence to international human rights standards.

Read the full iNews story at Rwanda Bill Faces Fresh Challenge


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