LONDON — The United Kingdom very delayed and controversial plan The decision to deport asylum seekers to the central African state of Rwanda was rejected by the British Supreme Court on Wednesday.
He decision The country’s highest court deals a blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who had made “stop the boats” – a populist rallying cry to stop unauthorized migration across the English Channel from France – a big promise before the probable general elections next year. .
Rwanda’s plan was designed as a deterrent to the thousands of migrants, mainly from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa, who make the dangerous journey in small boats and pleasure craft. It was fiercely criticized by international human rights groups and domestic opponents.
Rwanda received an initial 140 million pounds ($174 million) last year to receive migrants who made the 4,000-mile journey, although none have yet been sent. After today’s ruling, it’s doubtful they ever will.
“This was not the outcome we wanted, but we have spent the last few months planning for all eventualities and remain fully committed to stopping the boats,” Sunak said in a statement, which did not say whether the government would in any way implement the plan. .
A group of five unnamed migrants (three from Syria, one from Iran and one from Iraq) challenged the legality of the plan in an appeal and argued that Rwanda does not count as a “safe country.”
The five Supreme Court judges said there was “a real risk that people sent to Rwanda would be returned to their countries of origin where they face persecution or other inhumane treatment when, in fact, they have a good claim for asylum.”
A lower court previously ruled that the policy was legal, Wednesday’s ruling noted. “However, the way the Home Secretary implemented the policy in the individual plaintiffs’ cases was procedurally flawed,” he said.
Specifically, the policy was deemed illegal because the UK adheres to the European Convention on Human Rights, a charter that obliges states to ensure that people are not subjected to torture and other abuses.
According to official figures, more than 20,000 people have crossed this year this year, including 800 in a single day. This is still less than in 2022, when more than 45,000 made the trip. But the influx continues to put pressure on some local authorities in the United Kingdom, which during a national housing crisis are housing some migrants in hotels and student accommodation.
The Rwanda plan was the idea of former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who was fired on Monday by Sunak after she accused police of bias towards pro-Palestinian protesters she described as “hate protesters”.
Braverman published a scathing resignation letter on Tuesday, attacking Sunak for abandoning or ignoring right-wing projects he had supposedly agreed to champion and for not having a “plan B” in case the Supreme Court rejected the Rwanda plan.
The plan has been heavily criticized by opposition lawmakers, human rights groups, migrant welfare charities and lawyers, but right-wing lawmakers and newspaper supporters continue to argue that the plan is the key to stopping the boats, who are linked to extensive organized crime groups.
Braverman and his allies continue to argue that Britain should leave the ECHR, which was created after World War II, inspired by Winston Churchill and was written by a British conservative lawyer.