Plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is legal, UK court rules

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A British high court has ruled that the country’s controversial arrangement to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is legal.

 

On April 14, the UK government intends to begin sending asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing.

 

The UK had said the action became necessary to stop illegal migration and to prevent “vile people smugglers” from turning the ocean into a “watery graveyard”.

 

Since the announcement, the plan has elicited varied reactions, with refugee groups describing it as “cruel”, while some non-governmental organisations have disapproved of the funds earmarked for the project.

 

Defending the policy, Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, had said his country’s agreement with the UK is not for “trading of human beings”.

 

Kagame added that Rwanda is only trying to help and was approached because of its past experience in handling immigrants.

 

To stop the deportation agreement, several asylum seekers, aid groups, and a border official’s union filed lawsuits.

 

In the ruling delivered on Monday, the court held that although the plan is legal, the government failed to consider the circumstances of the individuals it tried to deport.

 

Clive Lewis, one of the presiding judges, said: “The court has concluded that it is lawful for the government to make arrangements for relocating asylum-seekers to Rwanda and for their asylum claims to be determined in Rwanda rather than in the United Kingdom.”

 

He, however, added that the government “must decide if there is anything about each person’s particular circumstances which means that his asylum claim should be determined in the United Kingdom or whether there are other reasons why he should not be relocated to Rwanda”.

 

“The home secretary has not properly considered the circumstances of the eight individual claimants whose cases we have considered,” the judge added.

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