Asylum Aid Sues UK Government Over Controversial Rwanda Asylum Seeker Plan

The legislation declares Rwanda a "safe country," countering a previous UK Supreme Court decision that deemed the policy unlawful.

Asylum Aid has initiated a legal challenge against the UK government’s policy to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, a move Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hopes to implement soon.

Last month, the UK Parliament passed legislation facilitating the transfer of asylum seekers arriving without authorization to Rwanda, a strategy Sunak believes will prevent migrants from risking their lives crossing to Britain in small boats.

The legislation declares Rwanda a “safe country,” countering a previous UK Supreme Court decision that deemed the policy unlawful.

However, Asylum Aid has highlighted discrepancies between the government’s recent guidance, which mandates case workers to consider Rwanda as safe, and the law’s provision for limited appeal rights for asylum seekers.

Alison Pickup, executive director of Asylum Aid, emphasized the importance of the legal action: “We have brought forward this legal action to ensure that the Home Office properly considers any individual cases against removal to Rwanda, including on the grounds that they would be returned from Rwanda to the place they fled.”

Sunak, advocating strongly for the policy as a deterrent to people-smugglers, anticipates the first deportations to Rwanda within the next three months.

Despite the high costs associated with the plan, criticized by many as an expensive gimmick, the government has begun detaining migrants in preparation for deportation.

Pickup also noted, “There is a lack of information on when flights to Rwanda will take off and who will be on them, but the government has made clear that it is determined to act quickly as we have already seen the Home Office carrying out forcible detentions.”

The legal battle initiated by Asylum Aid is not isolated, as the FDA trade union has also sued, claiming the policy could force civil servants to violate international law.

A court has scheduled a hearing for this case in early June.

Despite the looming threat of deportation to Rwanda, the perilous journey across the Channel continues.

This year alone, over 7,500 migrants have made the crossing, with a record 711 arrivals on a single day, indicating the persistent allure of Britain as a refuge.