London's plan to deport refugees to Rwanda "does not comply" with human rights obligations

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2024-02-12 | 07:16
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London's plan to deport refugees to Rwanda "does not comply" with human rights obligations
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London's plan to deport refugees to Rwanda "does not comply" with human rights obligations

The Britsh Joint Committee on Human Rights warned Monday that the government's recent bill to revive its controversial plan to send migrants to Rwanda "does not align" with the country's human rights commitments.

The Conservatives introduced what they called the "Safety of Rwanda Bill" late last year, shortly after a Supreme Court ruling that deporting asylum seekers to Kigali was illegal under international law.

If passed after scrutiny in both houses of Parliament, the legislation would compel UK judges to treat Rwanda as a safe third country.

However, after a thorough review, the joint parliamentary human rights committee expressed concerns regarding several issues related to the plan in a new report.

The committee concluded in the report that "by depriving access to a court to challenge Rwanda's safety, the law does not align with the UK's international obligations."

The proposed law contradicts the European Convention on Human Rights, the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, and domestic human rights law.

The committee, which includes five Conservative MPs among its 12 members, warned that enacting the law carries many risks, including "undermining the rights-compliant culture that should be present in all public bodies" in the UK.

Internationally, the law risks "damaging" Britain's reputation in rights protection and "encouraging other, less respectful countries towards the international legal system."

The report also criticized allowing ministers rather than judges to determine whether a country like Rwanda is safe.

The bill, aimed at curbing "irregular migration" to Britain, primarily via small boats crossing the English Channel by deporting arrivals to the African state, has faced criticism from the opposition and various international bodies, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

While the House of Commons voted in favor of it last month, it is expected to be debated in the House of Lords, which includes senior judges, on Monday, with many expressing discomfort with parts of the plan.

AFP

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Rwanda

UK

UN

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