Rwanda’s legal battle returns to court as judges reconsider whether the regime is legal

Interior Minister Suella Braverman during her visit to Rwanda (PA Wire)

Interior Minister Suella Braverman during her visit to Rwanda (PA Wire)

The next phase of the legal battle over the Rwanda deal will begin today, with the Court of Appeal having to reconsider whether it is safe to send asylum seekers to the country.

Suella Braverman has broadened the scope of the deal since it was found lawful by the High Court in December, meaning it can also apply to victims of modern slavery and other migrants on small boats.

The charity Asylum Aid will argue that selected individuals are not being given sufficient opportunities to contest the decision, or adequate time, information and access to legal advice.

Chief Executive Kerry Smith said: “The High Court’s decision – that people do not need legal advice, that they should be able to understand the process and make statements within seven days and that they have no right to make statements on the government’s position that Rwanda is safe – risks denying due process to all those subjected to this procedure.

“The lack of safe routes for those fleeing persecution and violence means that, together with the illegal immigration law, Rwanda’s treatment policy shortcut will ensure that survivors of torture, trafficking and other forms of human cruelty are stranded by the systems that allow them to secure security”.

Freedom From Torture, which is intervening in the case, said it “cuts to the heart of the UK’s role as a place of safety for survivors of torture and persecution”.

“In this exceptionally hostile and fast-paced scheme, there is a serious risk that torture survivors will go unidentified and be deported from the UK,” chief executive Sonya Sceats warned.

“Regardless of what the courts decide, this scheme and the ‘refugee ban bill’ are unacceptable and contrary to the compassion we should show to people who need our help.”

The arguments will be considered in a four-day hearing, starting Monday, and the judges are expected to reserve their decision for a later date.

The ministers said flights to Kigali would not be attempted until the case was decided, and whichever side loses in the Court of Appeal could take it to the Supreme Court.

The latest phase of the legal challenge in Rwanda coincides with the return to parliament of the controversial bill on illegal immigration.

It aims to allow the UK to detain and deport migrants on small boats without considering their asylum claims, and in the absence of other repatriation deals, the deal with Rwanda is crucial to its success.

Suella Braverman broadened scope of Rwanda deal after it was considered by the High Court (PA)

Suella Braverman broadened scope of Rwanda deal after it was considered by the High Court (PA)

Before the bill passes the House of Lords on Tuesday, MPs will consider a number of amendments, both hardening and softening aspects of the proposed laws.

The analysis conducted by the Refugee Council and Barnardo’s estimated that if the bill passes as it is currently drafted, nearly 15,000 unaccompanied minor asylum seekers would be locked up and banned from remaining in the UK when they turn 18 in the first three years of entry into force of the law.

The charities said most of the asylum-seeking children come from countries with high refugee grant rates, such as Afghanistan, and are “forced into dangerous journeys because there are very limited options for safe routes to The UK”.

Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon said: “The idea of ​​locking up children separated from their families and then kicking them out of the country when they turn 18 is deeply disturbing to most people in the UK. . This is not who we are as a country.”

Lynn Perry MBE, chief executive of Barnardo’s, said the bill had “serious implications for the safety and security of children.”

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