High Court rules UK plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is legal

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The High Court in London has ruled the British government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is legal.

In April, the UK struck a deal with the African nation aiming to send tens of thousands of migrants arriving on its shores to Rwanda. However, no deportation has yet taken place because of legal challenges — and this may remain the case should there be further appeals.

Announcing the court’s decision, Judge Clive Lewis said it was lawful for Britain to make arrangements with the Rwanda government to send asylum seekers to the country for their asylum claims to be determined there.

“The (British) government has made arrangements with the government of Rwanda which are intended to ensure that asylum claims of people relocated to Rwanda are properly determined there,” the judge said.

“In those circumstances, the relocation of asylum seekers to Rwanda is consistent with the Refugee Convention and with the statutory and other legal obligations on the government, including the obligation imposed by the Human Rights Act 1998.”

But the High Court added that the country’s former interior minister had failed to consider properly the individual circumstances of eight individual asylum-seekers who had challenged the policy. Those cases must be reconsidered, he said.

The decision has been welcomed by the government in Kigali. “We welcome this decision and are ready to offer asylum seekers and migrants the opportunity to build a new life in Rwanda,” government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo told AFP, calling it a “positive” step to solve the global migration crisis.

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