Asylum seekers bringing legal action over Rwanda have cases resolved

Wednesday, Jul 10, 2024

LONDON: Three asylum seekers who brought legal action over their potential removals to Rwanda have had their cases resolved at the High Court.

Lawyers for three people, who cannot be named, appeared at the London court for what was due to be full challenges against decisions paving the way for the individuals’ removals to Rwanda.

However, following the General Election, the new Labour government has said the deportation policy will be scrapped.And on Tuesday, judges were told that the three individual cases would no longer continue.

Sir James Eadie KC, for the Home Office, said: “In relation to the three named claimants these claimants’ cases will be fully disposed of and withdrawn subject to the Secretary of State paying their costs.”

In written submissions, the barrister said that claims of people affected by the Rwanda policy “will be considered in a manner consistent with the new government’s new asylum policy”.Sir James continued: “That asylum policy does not involve removals to Rwanda.”

The hearing before Dame Victoria Sharp, Mr Justice Chamberlain and Mr Justice Dove, which was previously expected to last four days, concluded in less than an hour.Outside court, Rakesh Singh, from the Public Law Project – representing one of the three asylum seekers – said that while his client will have his case for refugee status considered in the UK, other asylum seekers are left in “limbo”.

He told the PA news agency: “They don’t know what the position is, they will have to wait for another few months.“Many of them have been waiting for two years and they’ve been kept in limbo.

“Many of these people are highly vulnerable, victims oftorture, victims of trafficking, and they’ve not been able to move on with their lives… they have had Rwanda hanging over their heads.”

Other legal action over the Rwanda plans has not been disposed of.The charity Asylum Aid is bringing legal action, claiming that the Safety of Rwanda policy unlawfully tells decision-makers not to consider the risk of Rwanda sending a person to a third country where they would be at risk of torture, death, or other human rights abuse.

After the hearing, Asylum Aid said that as the Rwanda policy has not yet been withdrawn while Home Secretary Yvette Cooper conducts a review, its legal challenge remains live.The charity’s executive director Alison Pickup said: “As we welcome the Labour government’s decision to stop the flights, we call on them to now scrap the Rwanda scheme entirely by processing all asylum claims and abandon all plans for ‘offshore’ processing.

“The government must restore the right to seek asylum in the UK in line with international law and ensure people can have their cases processed here in a fair and timely way.”While in government, the Tories had pledged a “regular rhythm of flights every month” to Rwanda in their election offering, with the High Court previously told that the first flight had been planned for July 24.

However, Sir Keir Starmer has since described the Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) with the African nation as “dead and buried before it started”.And as she met police officers in Lewisham on Monday, Ms Cooper branded the policy a “con”, telling reporters she is now auditing the entire scheme and the amount of money spent on it.

In a statement on Monday, a spokesperson in Kigali said they “take note” of the UK government’s plan to axe the multimillion-pound agreement, which Rishi Sunak had set up in an effort to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel.

“Rwanda has fully upheld its side of the agreement, including with regard to finances, and remains committed to finding solutions to the global migration crisis,” a Rwandan government spokesperson also said.