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Rwanda ‘Treaty’ : inhumane bill for asylum seekers in the UK

The image shows UK Home Office James Cleverly (left) and Rwanda foreign minister Vincent Biruta (right), handshaking after the Rwanda Treaty has been signed  by both parties.
Read our statement “The UK Government’s Controversial Plan to Send Asylum seekers to Rwanda” here for more information: https://rightsdefenders.org/the-uk-governments-controversial-plan-to-send-asylum-seekers-to-rwanda/

On the 12th December, the UK Parliament passed the second reading for the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill by 313 to 269 votes.

On the first page of the bill, James Cleverly states that the bill is not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights but still wishes to proceed regardless of the violation. This defeats the purpose of Human Rights Conventions, as to ensure everyone is treated fairly and morally that defines and recognised different terms used in migration law.

UK Supreme Court found the plan “unlawful” as no evidence can be found on the safety of Rwanda. In 2022, a case was seen where a Syrian refugee sent to Rwanda was sent back to Syria via Turkey; which is not lawful as someone with a refugee status is granted this recognition as they are found unable to return their home country which may be due to “fear of persecution” for reasons stated by 1951 Refugee Convention. Therefore, the host country’s recognition of the status holds them responsible to make sure they are protected in the host country. Rwanda’s record on repression and violation of international human rights violations do not prove this. 

A new draft was published after the UK Supreme Court’s statement, that has not showed an evidence for Rwanda as a safe country. The Bill also includes “every decision-maker must conclusively treat the Republic of Rwanda as a safe country” (Article 2.1) that does not give room for criticism and threatens those that regard Rwanda as unsafe with its instruction. While the concerns over this legislation exists both in the UK and Rwanda with its need to disapply an existing Human Rights Convention; the illogical point made to treat Rwanda as safe without critiques only increases doubts of Human Rights Defenders.

We, as Rights Defenders, state that the Bill cannot be legislated without violation of human rights, that must stop the legislation. 1951 Refugee Convention indicates that individuals can seek asylum in any country that signed the Convention, that allows for freedom to choose where to live. Those that seek asylum in the UK cannot be sent to other countries that takes away their freedom of choice and only puts them in possible dangerous situations with a risk of deportation. We state that inhumane and tough bills on migration does not stop immigration, but only produces more danger for those seeking safety. 

References

https://www.unhcr.org/uk/about-unhcr/who-we-protect/refugees

https://news.sky.com/story/uk-rwanda-deportation-deal-becomes-a-reality-but-questions-remain-over-asylum-seekers-safety-13023697

https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/12/08/uk-cant-legislate-away-rwandas-rights-record

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-04/0038/230038.pdf

https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3540

https://ecre.org/uk-controversial-rwanda-bill-passes-second-reading-amid-concerns-death-of-asylum-seeker-on-a-barge/

https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-61782866