by Professor Devyani Prabhat, the Law School, University of Bristol
The UK supreme court has unanimously ruled that the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful. Upholding an earlier decision by the court of appeal, the supreme court found that asylum seekers sent to Rwanda may be at risk of refoulement – being sent back to a country where they may be persecuted, tortured or killed. The courts cited extensive evidence from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) that Rwanda does not respect the principle of non-refoulement – a legal obligation. The UNHCR’s evidence questioned the ability of Rwandan authorities to fairly assess asylum claims. It also raised concerns about human rights violations by Rwandan authorities, including not respecting non-refoulement with other asylum seekers. (more…)
by Kathryn Allinson, Lecturer in Law, University of Bristol
It has been a busy few weeks in the life of the Illegal Migration Bill with a record 20 amendments made to it by the House of Lords and the Court of Appeal declaring that removals to Rwanda are unlawful. However, what does this mean for those people seeking asylum in the UK?
Court of Appeal rules that removals to Rwanda are unlawful
The government’s proposed plan to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda was ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal on Thursday, 29 June 2023. The case was brought by Asylum Aid as well as 10 people from countries including Syria, Iraq and Albania, who arrived in the UK in small boats. Whilst the High Court had supported the government’s policy, the Court of Appeal judges, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Sir Geoffrey Vos and Lord Justice Underhill, ruled that Rwanda was not a sufficiently safe country and there was too great a risk that genuine refugees could be returned to countries where they risked persecution. (more…)
by Professor Devyani Prabhat, The Law School, University of Bristol
A woman held at the Manston holding facility in Kent is taking legal action against Home Secretary Suella Braverman. The asylum seeker claims that she was held unlawfully in “egregiously defective conditions” at the centre. Her case is supported by the organisation Detention Action, and another case is being put forward by the charity Bail for Immigration Detainees. Braverman has denied ignoring legal advice about conditions at the centre, which is meant for a maximum of 1,600 people but was holding more than 4,000 and has had outbreaks of norovirus, scabies and diphtheria. Braverman has been accused of not making alternative arrangements, such as hotel bookings, to accommodate the additional people. The Manston facility has become a flashpoint for criticism of the government’s current and past policies, and treatment of asylum seekers. But the situation at Manston is not just dismal, it is a violation of legal requirements in international law, domestic law and the government’s own policies. (more…)