Newsletter October Newsletter

Deporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers to Rwanda

The legal challenge against the deportation of refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda is currently being heard in the High Court. The government is relying on the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc.) Act 2004 which gives ministers the power to send asylum seekers to safe countries. Their QC, referring to the Refugee Convention which bans governments from imposing ‘penalties’ on asylum seekers, said: ‘the obligation…is to either assess the claim or return the asylum seeker to a safe third country. If we choose to return the individual to a third country that is safe, then we, the UK, have complied with our obligation under the Refugee Convention.’ The counter-claim is the UN Refugee Agency’s declaration that Rwanda is not a safe place for migrants, and the Court has asked for a detailed response to this critical point. The case is ongoing and the judgement will not be handed down for some time.