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Montevideo, April 24th 2024 - 09:16 UTC

 

 

Lords call for the UK/Rwanda treaty to be delayed to improve asylum procedures

Tuesday, January 23rd 2024 - 10:03 UTC
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The treaty, signed in December, is central to Rishi Sunak's “stop the boats”, scheme to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda but is separate to the Rwanda safety bill. The treaty, signed in December, is central to Rishi Sunak's “stop the boats”, scheme to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda but is separate to the Rwanda safety bill.

The House of Lords has called for the new UK-Rwanda treaty to be delayed until Kigali improves its asylum procedures. Peers backed a motion calling the government not to ratify the treaty by 214 votes to 171, but the motion is not binding on the government, according to a report from BBC.

The treaty, signed in December, is central to Rishi Sunak's “stop the boats”, scheme to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda but is separate to the Rwanda safety bill.

Next week peers will begin debating the bill itself, which aims to prevent legal challenges to deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.

While non-binding, the vote on the treaty gives an indication of the level of opposition Mr Sunak is likely to face when the bill is debated in the Lords.

But only one Conservative - the Earl of Dundee - rebelled against the government in Monday night's vote.

The vote was the first to be held under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 - which set out new methods for the Lords to reject treaty ratification.

Once the Rwanda Bill is passed, the treaty will officially be ratified - though the government does not need the backing of parliament to approve the treaty.

The UK-Rwanda Treaty forms a central plank of the government's plan to deter migrants from crossing the Channel in small boats.

The treaty was drafted in response to the Supreme Court ruling that the Rwanda policy unlawful.

Home Secretary James Cleverly signed the new legally binding treaty in Kigali, which he said would ensure people relocated to Rwanda are not at risk of being returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened - a process known as non-refoulement.

The treaty also establishes a new appeal body, which will be made up of judges with asylum expertise from a range of countries, to hear individual cases.

The government says Rwanda's asylum system would be monitored by an independent committee, whose powers to enforce the treaty would be beefed up.

The Monitoring Committee will develop a system which will enable relocated people and their lawyers to lodge complaints, the government says.

But the House of Lords backed a motion on Monday saying the treaty should wait until the government is able to prove Rwanda is safe.

Categories: Politics, International.

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