Sunak vows to push through Rwanda deal despite ruling

The UK’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that London’s plan to deport refugees to Rwanda without an asylum procedure are unlawful. There were grounds to believe that asylum seekers would be deported from there to their home countries without due process, the court concluded. In a bid to push through the plan despite the ruling, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has promised to introduce "emergency legislation" classifying Rwanda as a safe third country. Divided reactions in the media.

The Guardian (GB) /

A victory for sound judgement

The judges have put the Conservative government and its populist policy in their place, columnist Martin Kettle writes in The Guardian:

“From first to last, the Rwanda policy has been a piece of performance politics, a pretend answer to the genuine problem of migrants in small boats and the awful backlog in asylum cases. The judges, a shining light of sanity in what is currently a mad political world, have now called it out. They have stood up for the law, as they should. If only ministers would do the same.”

Martin Kettle
De Volkskrant (NL) /

His last chance

The government will not and cannot accept the ruling, De Volkskrant is adamant:

“Prime Minister Rishi Sunak refuses to give up ‘Rwanda’. After the ruling was announced, Sunak made a phone call to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. A genuine, legally valid agreement in which the African country guarantees that rejected asylum seekers will not be sent back to their country of origin is now to be signed. With this, the government in London hopes to counter the main objection of the Supreme Court. ... If Sunak cannot deliver on his ‘stop the boats’ promise, his last chance of winning the election will disappear.”

Patrick van Ijzendoorn
The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Send UK officials to Rwanda

Richard Ekins, an expert on constitutional law, explains in The Daily Telegraph how London could achieve its goal despite the ruling:

“This points the way towards a better alternative, which is to abandon a policy of outsourcing asylum claims to Rwanda and instead to adopt a policy of offshoring, whereby UK officials process claims outside the UK, whether in Rwanda or in a British overseas territory, with genuine refugees then settled in safe third countries. ... If UK officials process claims, there is no reason why Rwanda cannot be a safe-third country for settlement.”

Ekins Richard
Berlingske (DK) /

Denmark must not be deterred

The ruling is not relevant to Denmark’s plans to outsource asylum procedures, says Berlingske:

“It pertains to just one country (Rwanda) and one model (the British). As far as Denmark is concerned, the Danish Institute for Human Rights has established that outsourcing asylum procedures to a third country does not violate international law. And Italy has only just signed a similar agreement with Albania. No, Denmark must not be deterred by the British ruling. On the contrary, it must encourage it to work even harder for a fairer and more sustainable asylum system. ... The current European system simply doesn’t work. ... And nothing will change in Europe unless individual countries lead the way. Denmark should be one of those countries.”

Amalie Lyhne
Salzburger Nachrichten (AT) /

Great news for his opponents

Sunak ignored all the warnings and must now reckon with political consequences, criticises the Salzburger Nachrichten:

“The dilemma in which the British Tory government finds itself after the Supreme Court’s ruling hardly comes as a surprise. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who took over the Rwanda plans from his predecessor Boris Johnson, went ahead with the controversial project against all warnings, even though it had long been clear that it was doomed to fail. ... He wanted to be different from his predecessors Johnson and Liz Truss, who promised the people everything under the sun. In sticking to the Rwanda plans Sunak continued their populist policies. This is grist to the mill of his political opponents.”

Susanne Ebner