British court rules that Rwanda deal is illegal

A Court of Appeals has ruled that the UK is not allowed to outsource asylum procedures to Rwanda, as had been decided in 2022. It judged that Rwanda cannot be considered a safe third country because deficiencies in the asylum procedure there could lead to legitimate asylum seekers being deported to their countries of origin. The decision can still be appealed to the UK’s Supreme Court.

The Guardian (GB) /

Refugees can’t be outsourced

The Guardian welcomes the ruling:

“We already knew that the government’s plans were cruel, unworkable, expensive and unpopular. Now we know that they are also against the law. At 89,000 last year, the number of asylum claimants in the UK is lower than in many other countries. The Home Office should concentrate on improving processes (including those criticised by judges) and tackling backlogs. ... Ministers should scrap the idea of outsourcing refugees along with the anti-migrant slogans.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Only the elected can make democratic decisions

Key decisions about migration policy should not be made by judges, law professor Andrew Tettenborn warns in The Spectator:

“Nobody knows for certain what may happen to asylum seekers sent to central Africa. But that isn’t the point. The question the administrative lawyers need to answer is who out of judges and politicians ought to have the final say about these risks, and whether as a nation we should run them. ... For anyone who believes in democratic control of central social policies like immigration, the response should be clear: it must be the elected representatives.”

Andrew Tettenborn
taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Not just a British aberration

The ruling also has consequences for international refugee policy, the taz points out:

“The UNHCR is constantly flying asylum seekers from Libya to Rwanda. Will that no longer be possible? The ruling is even more problematic for the EU — and thus also for Germany. The EU-Turkey deal allows Greece to return Syrian refugees to Turkey without a hearing or not to admit them at all — but in Turkey there are discussions at the highest political level about deporting Syrian refugees to Syria even against their will. By the standards of the London ruling, the deal would be illegal. This is not just a theoretical statement. ... The European Convention on Human Rights applies not only in the EU but throughout Europe.”

Dominic Johnson