In the United Kingdom, the Court of Appeal rules illegal the sending of asylum seekers to Rwanda

The British government’s “anti-migrant” policy suffered a major setback on Thursday 29 June. The centerpiece of this policy, the “Rwanda” agreement, signed in April 2022 by the Johnson cabinet with Kigali to deport to this East African country people who have crossed the Channel to seek asylum in the United Kingdom. , was judged ” illegal “ by the UK Court of Appeal.

The weighty judgment can be summed up in a few words: the judges of the Court of Appeal considered that Rwanda is not a “safe third country” for asylum seekers. Because of “impairments” in the Rwandan asylum system, senior judge Lord Ian Burnett explained on Thursday, ” there are serious reasons to believe that people sent to Rwanda could be sent back to their country of origin, that they flee, even if they have good reasons to claim asylum”. Until these shortcomings are corrected, the judge added, returning asylum seekers to Rwanda will be illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights to which the UK is a party. The Court of Appeal does not, however, question the legality of the deportations of asylum seekers from the United Kingdom to a safe third country.

The agreement with Rwanda had however been judged legal at first instance by the High Court of Justice for England and Wales, in December 2022. But the charity Asylum Aid as well as ten asylum seekers appealed, and a majority of the judges ruled in their favor. “We are delighted. But we are nevertheless disappointed that the Court of Appeal did not question [le fait d’envoyer des demandeurs d’asile dans un pays tiers] », reacted the head of Asylum Aid, Alison Pickup. ” Our decision has nothing to do with politics”, took care to specify Judge Burnett: the “Rwanda” agreement is denounced by the entire British left and it is only half-heartedly supported by part of the conservative camp, whereas Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of the Anglican Church, denounced a policy ” immorality that brings shame to our country”.

Discourage people from coming to the country

Rishi Sunak’s government immediately announced that it would seek an appeal to the Supreme Court of England and Wales. The Prime Minister, from a family of Indian origin who found refuge in the United Kingdom in the 1970s, assured “respect” the decision of the Court of Appeal but be “fundamentally disagree with his findings. I strongly believe that the Rwandan government has provided the necessary assurances to ensure that there is no real risk that asylum seekers resettled under Rwandan policy will be wrongfully returned to third countries. » The government of Paul Kagame also defended itself, assuring that Rwanda “is one of the safest countries in the world”, recognized for “his exemplary treatment of refugees” and that his deal with London still stood.

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