The British Supreme Court has dealt a significant blow to the British government’s initiative to relocate illegal migrants to Rwanda. The judges unanimously rejected the government’s appeal, posing a challenge for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The plan, initiated in 2022 under then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, involved sending migrants to Rwanda to await their asylum procedures, with the African country receiving 140 million euros in return. The objective was to act as a deterrent for migrants attempting to cross the English Channel in rubber boats from France.
Prime Minister Sunak, who succeeded Johnson, continued with the plan, emphasizing his commitment to preventing migrants from arriving in Britain via small boats. However, the recent ruling by the British Supreme Court halts a crucial aspect of fulfilling this promise.
Despite the court having reviewed the case multiple times, with previous instances suggesting that asylum flights might proceed, this year, appellate British judges declared the plan illegal.
The court’s decision was based on concerns that migrants sent to Rwanda could face the risk of being returned to the countries they fled, potentially subjecting them to inhumane conditions.
As a result, the Rwanda relocation plan falls apart, and the UK is permitted to explore similar agreements with other countries, though it remains uncertain whether other nations would be willing to enter such arrangements.
In response to the verdict, Sunak expressed dissatisfaction, reiterating the government’s commitment to stopping the influx of boats. He highlighted that the chief judges acknowledged the legality of the fundamental principle of deporting illegal migrants to a safe country.
Meanwhile, the government of Rwanda is displeased with the ruling, particularly the absence of the designation of Rwanda as a safe country by the chief justice in London. Rwanda intends to contest this aspect.