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UK High Court grants permission to appeal over Rwanda deportation policy

January 16, 2023 at 4:48 pm

Hundreds of demonstrators gather during a protest against the UK’s plan to send migrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda and the court’s decision on the matter in front of the Ministry of Interior in London, United Kingdom [Raşid Necati Aslım/Anadolu Agency]

The top Court in London granted an appeal to a charity which challenged the Court’s decision that the government’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda while their status is decided are lawful in broad principle, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In December, the government beat back a legal challenge to its irregular immigration policy as the High Court paved the way for the deportations. In a 139-page ruling, Lord Justice Lewis said the controversial policy, first introduced under then-Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was “consistent with the refugee convention”. Although judges dismissed the challenges against the policy as a whole, they found that the government had failed to consider individual cases of eight asylum seekers.

READ: UK Rwanda deportees include victims of torture, human trafficking: Study

Pushing back against criticisms, Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, said she wants to press on with the deportation policy “as soon as possible”, adding that the government stands ready to defend the policy “against any further legal challenge”.

However, the policy has been under fire from many human rights groups and opposition parties. Speaking to Anadolu Agency after the initial ruling, Karen Doyle, the spokesperson of “Here to Stay UK”, a charity campaigning against Rwanda deportations, accused the British government of “using racism and anti-immigrant policies to prop up failing government.”

For non-governmental organisations, one fear is that the current government may withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights to avoid further legal challenges to its policy, as domestically, UK courts are not expected to call off the policy.

The plan was initially challenged with lawyers on behalf of asylum seekers, arguing that the government had ignored the evidence that the Central African country violates human rights.

The Rwanda plan would see asylum seekers who crossed the English Channel in small boats deported to Rwanda, where their claims would be processed. It was suspended amid a slew of legal challenges.

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