WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
February 19 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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New Rwanda Bill disregards Human Rights Act

New Rwanda Bill disregards Human Rights Act

Rwanda

The emergency Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, which proposes to disapply international law, was published yesterday, in response to the Supreme Court’s judgement last month.

The Bill instructs courts to “conclusively treat Rwanda a safe country”, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. It also includes provision to disapply sections of the Human Rights Act as well as international conventions, making it extremely difficult for individuals to challenge their removal to Rwanda. Individuals will only be able to appeal their removal if they can prove that relocating them to Rwanda puts them at a risk of serious harm.

This follows the UK Supreme Court ruling that removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda left them at a real risk of refoulement and return to the country they fled. The bill specifically removes such a consideration from the courts, circumventing this objection. Further, it gives ministers the power to ignore emergency orders by the ECHR preventing an individual’s removal to Rwanda, as happened before.

The Bill supports the ‘Rwanda Policy’, by which asylum seekers will be deported to Rwanda to have their claims processed there. This, the government proposes, will deter migrants from travelling to the UK illegally through unsafe routes.  Lord Jonathan Sumption, a former Supreme Court judge, said that the Rwanda policy was a breach of the UK’s intentional law obligations.

Akiko Hart, Intermin Director of Liberty, said, “Either we all have human rights, or none of us do. This new Bill is an extraordinary attempt to rip apart the basic principles of our human rights protections. The Government should not be allowed to pick and choose when our fundamental rights apply.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that Parliament “will disapply sections of the Human Rights Act from the key parts of the Bill, specifically in the case of Rwanda, to ensure [their] plan cannot be stopped.”