London, November 15
Britain’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the government’s scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful, dealing a crushing blow to PM Rishi Sunak before an election expected next year. Under the plan, Britain intended to send tens of thousands of asylum seekers who arrived on its shores without permission to the East African country in a bid to deter migrants crossing the Channel from Europe in small boats.
But the top court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that migrants could not be sent to Rwanda because it could not be considered a safe third country. The Rwanda scheme was the central plank of Sunak’s immigration policy as he prepares to face an election next year, amid concern among some voters about the numbers of asylum seekers arriving in small boats.
The ruling sparked an angry response from some lawmakers in the right wing of his party, who said the government should consider pulling out of the European Convention on Human Rights, even though the court made clear its decision was based on a number of laws and treaties, and not the Convention alone.
The ruling had taken on even greater political significance in recent days after Sunak sacked Interior Minister Suella Braverman, a popular figure on his party’s right whose remit included dealing with immigration. She launched a scathing attack on Sunak on Tuesday, saying he had broken promises on tackling immigration and betrayed the British people.
Sunak said the government had planned for all eventualities and would do whatever it takes to stop illegal migration. “Britain’s government has already been working on a new treaty with Rwanda and could change the country’s laws after the Supreme Court’s ruling,” the PM said.
The PM’s spokesperson said the government would publish a new treaty with Rwanda in the coming days to address the Supreme Court’s ruling. — Reuters
Britain’s policy cruel
Britain’s Rwanda policy isn’t just cruel, callous and morally reprehensible — the Supreme Court has confirmed it’s unlawful too. — Sadiq Khan, London mayor
African nation safe
We take issue with the ruling that Rwanda is not a safe third country for asylum seekers and refugees in terms of refoulement. — Yolande Makolo, spokeswoman, Rwanda