Authored by MPs and peers in the cross-party joint committee, the report is the latest in a series of criticisms by legal and human rights experts against the UK government’s Rwanda initiative.
One concern highlighted in the report is the Bill’s requirement for Rwanda to be considered a safe country for deportation. The Committee argues that this determination should rest with the courts, as they are better equipped than Parliament to assess Rwanda’s safety.
The committee found that the Bill’s denial of court access to challenge Rwanda’s safety was incompatible with the UK’s international obligations, particularly violating the right to an effective remedy under Article 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Additionally, the Bill is inconsistent with the ECHR as it significantly limits the use of safeguards, such as court injunctions, that could delay deportation to Rwanda during the consideration of a claim. Overall, the Bill falls short of compliance with both the ECHR and the Refugee Convention.
Another significant criticism outlined in the report concerns the removal of Human Rights Act protections for individuals deported to Rwanda. This removal of safeguards raises the possibility of public bodies acting against the ECHR during deportations, which could pose challenges to the rule of law.
The Committee’s chair, Joanna Cherry MP, criticised the Bill sharply, saying it was ‘designed to remove vital safeguards against persecution and human rights abuses, including the fundamental right to access a court.’
Despite the serious criticisms laid out in the report, the Home Office continues to double down on its current stance. A spokesperson for the Home Office said: ‘Rwanda is clearly a safe country that cares deeply about supporting refugees. It hosts more than 135,000 asylum seekers and stands ready to relocate people and help them rebuild their lives.’