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Expulsion of migrants in Rwanda : London ready for a showdown with European justice

The British government said on Wednesday it was ready to take action. oppose the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to lead to his plan to deport migrants who arrived illegally in the United Kingdom to Rwanda, after a legal setback before the Supreme Court.

Inflicting a severe snub on the British Prime Minister, the country's highest court confirmed the illegality of this flagship measure of the Conservative government's migration policy, calling into question the treatment of asylum seekers in Rwanda.

Under pressure from his own camp to respect his promise to put an end to illegal arrivals of migrants, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak immediately indicated that his government was already working on a “new treaty” with Kigali responding to the objections of the Supreme Court.

He spoke with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the two leaders “reiterated their strong commitment to making (their) partnership work” and announced measures “to ensure that this policy is solid and legal “, according to Downing Street.

To remove the opposition of justice, the British leader announced during a press conference an “emergency law” classifying Rwanda as a safe country. And he toughened his tone against the risk of obstacles coming from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), based in Strasbourg, assuring that he would not “allow a foreign court to block these flights”.< /p>

“If the Strasbourg court decides to intervene against the will of Parliament, I am ready to do whatever it takes to get planes off the ground,” he insisted.

The new Minister of the Interior James Cleverly clarified that the government has been working in recent months to “provide the certainties that justice demands”, all in accordance with international law.

– Risk of “persecutions ” –

Announced a year and a half ago, at the time under Boris Johnson's government, the project to send migrants to Rwanda – whatever their origin – was never implemented. In mid-2022, a first flight was canceled at the last minute after a decision by the ECHR.

This project aims to have a deterrent effect on illegal immigration but its critics consider it inhumane and call for the establishment of legal routes to access the asylum system without migrants having to cross the border illegally. .

At the end of June, the London Court of Appeal ruled the project “illegal”, finding that there was “a real risk that people sent to Rwanda would (then) be returned to their country of origin where they were prey to persecution and other inhumane treatment.”

A reasoning validated by the Supreme Court, whose decision was applauded by human rights associations and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

A few months before the legislative elections expected next year, it nevertheless sounds like a bitter setback for the Prime Minister and his promise to “stop the boats” of migrants on the Channel.

More than 27,000 have made the crossing since the start of the year, after a record of 45,000 in 2022.

– 100% rejections –

Expulsion of migrants to Rwanda: London ready for standoff with European justice

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, November 13, 2023 in London © AFP – Daniel LEAL

The Rwandan government, through a spokesperson, said it “disputes the decision that Rwanda is not a safe third country for asylum seekers and refugees.”

Intervening in the procedure , the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that Rwanda did not have an “accessible, reliable, fair and effective asylum system”, and recalled that it had “invariably expressed serious concerns” in this folder.

The UNHCR had stressed, the President of the Supreme Court recalled on Wednesday, that Rwanda rejected “100% of asylum requests” from countries in conflict zones such as Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, “even though the British authorities often conclude that such requests are well founded.”

Expulsion migrants in Rwanda: London ready for a showdown with European justice

British Interior Minister James Cleverly, November 14, 2023 in London © AFP – Ben Stansall < p>London has continued to toughen its rhetoric on immigration. In July, a law was passed prohibiting migrants who arrived illegally in the United Kingdom from seeking asylum, regardless of the reasons which led them to flee their country.

The UN denounced a text contrary to international law and expressed concern that “other countries, including in Europe” would be tempted to follow this path.

All reproduction and representation rights reserved. © (2023) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116