The Court of Appeal hears the appeal against plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

The Court of Appeal hears the appeal against plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

The Court of Appeal hears the appeal against plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

An appeal hearing to determine whether two High Court judges were right to reject legal bids against ministers’ plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is due to begin on Monday.

A group of individuals from countries including Iran, Iraq and Syria are aiming to overturn the sentences handed down in December.

Last year, Lord Justice Lewis and Mr Justice Swift rejected a series of legal bids against the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

But the couple have given the green light to several individual asylum seekers and the charity Asylum Aid to appeal their decision.

In a hearing that will last four days, the Court of Appeal will be asked to assess whether the two judges were wrong in believing that there were sufficient guarantees to prevent the asylum seekers from being returned to a country where they were at risk of persecution and whether Rwanda’s scheme is “systemically unfair”.

The Freedom From Torture charity, which is acting as a third party on the appeal after giving evidence to the High Court during last year’s deliberations, said Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s policy poses a risk to survivors to torture.

Chief Executive Sonya Sceats said: “This case goes to the heart of the UK’s role as a place of safety for survivors of torture and persecution from countries such as Afghanistan and Iran who have been denied safe routes to reach our coasts.

“We know from our clinical services that torture survivors struggle to disclose their traumatic experiences, even in a safe therapeutic environment.

“In this exceptionally hostile and fast-paced scheme, there is a grave risk that they will go unidentified and be deported from the UK.”

He added: “No matter 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.”

Rwanda’s deportation plan, along with the illegal immigration bill – due to return to the House of Commons on Wednesday – is part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to stop migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats.

The approach was denounced by the UN refugee agency as an effective “ban on asylum”.

Suella Braverman visits Rwanda

Interior Minister Suella Braverman wants to send asylum seekers arriving via unauthorized routes to Rwanda (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

In April last year, then Home Secretary Priti Patel signed an agreement with Rwanda to welcome migrants deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally”, and therefore ineligible under new immigration rules.

Claims had previously been raised against the proposals, which at the time were described as a “first world deal” in an attempt to dissuade migrants from crossing the Channel.

The first deportation flight – due to take off on June 14 – was stalled amid objections against individual ejections and the policy as a whole.

After hearings in September and October, Lord Justice Lewis and Mr Justice Swift rejected the arguments that the plans were illegal.

However, they ruled in favor of eight asylum seekers, believing that the government had acted incorrectly in their individual cases.

Separately, two charities warn that the illegal immigration bill could lock away thousands of refugee children who have been separated from their parents.

According to an impact assessment by the Refugee Council, an estimated 15,000 unaccompanied minors would have their asylum claims deemed inadmissible in the first three years of the legislation being implemented.

As a result, the Refugee Council and children’s charity Barnardo’s said those children could be detained or be deported to the country they fled from or to a third country, such as Rwanda.

They could also be banned from remaining in the UK as refugees when they turn 18, the two groups said.

Charities are asking MPs to support amendments to exclude children from the legislation.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Lynn Perry said, “As it stands, this bill has serious implications for the safety and protection of children.

“As a charity that has a long history of supporting the children who need us most, Barnardo’s is deeply concerned that this bill will prevent children seeking asylum in the UK, who have experienced trauma, exploitation and trafficking , to get the vital help and support they so urgently need”.

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