UN says UK Rwanda asylum plan illegal

UN says UK Rwanda asylum plan illegal Source: twitter

The plan signed this week by Home Secretary Priti Patel that will see asylum seekers sent to Rwanda for processing, has been branded illegal by the United National High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Gillian Triggs, Assistant Secretary-General at the UNHCR, said that the plan was an “egregious breach” of international and refugee law, describing it as “unacceptable” and a “troubling development”.

Triggs, who is Australian, was questioned about the similar offshore immigration system in her country by the BBC she replied. “My point is, just as the Australian policy is an egregious breach of international law and refugee law and human rights law, so too is this proposal by the United Kingdom government..

“It is very unusual, very few states have tried this, and the purpose is primarily deterrent – and it can be effective, I don’t think we’re denying that.

“But what we’re saying at the UN refugee agency is that there are much more legally effective ways of achieving the same outcome.”

In criticising the plan she referred to a similar one abandoned by Israel who sent Eritrean and Sudanese refugees to Rwanda, only for those to “simply leave the country and to start the process all over again.”

Lord Dubbs said he agreed with the UNHCR assessment that the agreement breaches the 1951 Geneva Convention on refugees. He said: “I think it’s a way of getting rid of people the government doesn’t want, dumping them in a distant African country, and they’ll have no chance of getting out of there again. You can’t just shunt them around like unwanted people.”

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the plan he acknowledged that he expected it to face legal challenges. He said: “We are confident that our new migration partnership is fully compliant with our international legal obligations, but nevertheless we expect this will be challenged in the courts.”

Patel for her part believes that it will become a “blueprint” that will be used by other countries to manage the issue of refugees and asylum seekers. .

She said: “There is no question now that the model we have put forward, I’m convinced is world class and a world first, and it will be used as a blueprint going forward, there’s no doubt about that.”

Responding to the reports, a Home Office source told Sky News: “Home Office officials are clear that deterring illegal entry would create significant savings. However, such a deterrent effect cannot be quantified with certainty.

“It would be wrong to let a lack of precise modelling delay a policy aimed at reducing illegal migration, saving lives, and breaking the business model of the smuggling gangs.”

The Home Office has said that it expects to start transferring applicants to Rwanda within weeks, despite expected challenges in the House of Lords and those in the courts from human rights organisations.

The Rwanda asylum plan which the UK says is illegal follows criticism both internally and externally of the country’s failure to take in an appropriate number of Ukrainian refugees.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]


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