The legality of the UK’s plan to send some people arriving illegally to landlocked Rwanda for processing will again be challenged in the British courts.
The British government says its Rwanda policy will create a deterrent to migrants, by opening up the possibility that people from so-called “safe countries” could be sent to Africa, rather than allowing them to stay in the UK while their claims are processed.
A British court declared the program legal in December after an earlier challenge.
However, High Court judges Clive Lewis and Jonathan Swift said this week they would allow migrants and charities to challenge aspects of their decision at the Court of Appeal.
Home Secretary Suala Braverman, a strong supporter of the Rwanda policy, said the British government was ready to argue again that it should be declared legal and implemented.
“The government is clear that we support and are proud of the ground-breaking agreement and partnership we have made with Rwanda so that we can deliver on our plans to stop and quickly remove people coming here illegally,” Sky News quoted her as saying. .
The initiative was unveiled in April by Boris Johnson, the British prime minister at the time, who said the first migrants could be sent overseas as early as two months later. But the European Court of Human Rights stopped that and said no one should be deported until the legality of the plan is tested in court.
This set up the December Challenge, which was set up by eight asylum seekers and organizations including Asylum Aid, Care4Calais, the PCSU union and Detention Action. While the High Court ruled against them, some of those involved in that case can now appeal parts of the decision.
The BBC said the charity Asylum Aid had already said it would appeal, calling in experts to say the decision-making process in the UK is systemically unfair.
The appeal will likely not be heard for several months, during which time Britain will not be allowed to send anyone to Rwanda. After that, the case can be referred to the Supreme Court for another appeal.
The main bone of contention in the upcoming appeals may be whether migrants will have sufficient protection in Rwanda against “removal”, or whether they will be forced to move to an unsafe place, the Guardian newspaper reported.
The paper quoted Claire Mosley, founder of Care4Calais, as saying: “Refugees will not be safe in Rwanda and this policy will not stop smugglers. Giving refugees safe passage is a better and more effective way forward.”
Britain faces tens of thousands of people arriving in small boats from France every year, with many turning out to be economic migrants posing as asylum seekers. The nation said even genuine asylum seekers should seek asylum in the first safe country they reach, and not travel to the UK.