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Montevideo, April 24th 2024 - 19:54 UTC

 

 

UK parliament committee says Rwanda plan is “fundamentally incompatible” with human rights

Monday, February 19th 2024 - 18:51 UTC
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's controversial legislation was approved by MPs last month despite substantial opposition Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's controversial legislation was approved by MPs last month despite substantial opposition

British Parliament Joint Committee on Human Rights said that the government's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is “fundamentally incompatible” with the UK's human rights safeguards and jeopardizes UK's international reputation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's controversial legislation was approved by MPs last month despite substantial opposition. His own party split over the plan and the then immigration minister quit, declaring it would not work.

Under the scheme, which has cost £290m so far, the UK would block claims for asylum from anyone arriving over the English Channel and instead send them on a one-way trip to Rwanda. Its government has promised to consider their cases for protection.

The UK Supreme Court ruled that Rwanda was not a safe country because it could send victims of abuses, including torture, back to countries they have fled from.

If the legislation is passed by Parliament, British judges will be told to find the country is a safe place without considering the evidence a second time.

Publishing a detailed analysis of the legislation, the cross-party Joint Committee on Human Rights said the bill would deny almost all asylum seekers the legal right to ask an independent court to assess their case to remain in the UK.

“The principle that individuals cannot be removed from a country to face a real risk of persecution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or death is a core principle of international law, to which the UK has committed itself on numerous occasions over the past 70 years,” said the report.

While Rwanda had promised in a new treaty with the UK to improve its human rights safeguards, there was no guarantee it would work in practice, said the committee.

“The courts remain the most appropriate branch of the state to resolve contested issues of fact,” it said. “The question of Rwanda's safety would best be determined not by legislation but by allowing the courts to consider [the evidence].”

Joanna Cherry KC, the SNP MP who chairs the cross-party committee, said the bill was so flawed that it risked “untold damage” to the UK's reputation for upholding human rights.

“Hostility to human rights is at its heart and no amendments can salvage it,” she said.

Categories: Politics, International.

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