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Priti Patel faces legal challenge against Rwanda deportation deal

Priti Patel is already dealing with legal motion against her plans to ship asylum seekers to Rwanda in what’s more likely to be the primary of many challenges against the controversial coverage.

Lawyers representing an asylum seeker who’s eligible for removing beneath the plans have lodged a judicial review application, arguing that sending him to the East African nation would violate his human rights.

They argue that the deal the British authorities has brokered with Rwanda – which is able to see asylum seekers who’ve arrived within the UK despatched 4,000 miles away to have their claims thought of by the Rwandan authorities – breaks the legislation in a number of methods.

The attorneys say it’s in breach of each the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – on the idea that it denies deportees correct entry to the courts and is discriminatory – and the Geneva Convention, which stipulates that asylum seekers shouldn’t be penalised for his or her methodology of arrival.

The attorneys additionally argue that the coverage breaks the legislation on the idea that Rwanda can’t be thought of a “safe country”, because the UK authorities claims.

The solicitor bringing the case, Harjot Singh of Twinwood Law Practice, advised The Independent: “We strongly feel that the [policy] is unlawful. I’ve got all my faith in the judicial system. I’ll leave it to the judges.”

Zoe Bantleman, legal director on the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, stated there have been more likely to be additional legal challenges.

“The government is not above the law, which lawyers are professionally and ethically charged to uphold without regard to their politics,” she stated.

“Further litigation, to challenge any failure by the UK to comply with its obligations under the law, is likely, and will be necessary to maintain the rule of law.”

She added: “We are deeply concerned that if this policy were to be found unlawful by our courts, the government would see our legal and constitutional framework as an impediment to its agenda and alter the law to weaken the protection of rights.”

The multimillion-pound deal, introduced final week, is ready to see asylum seekers who’re deemed to be “inadmissible” – that means they travelled by a secure nation to achieve Britain and subsequently is not going to have their declare determined within the UK – deported to Rwanda to have their claims processed there.

The UK’s inadmissibility guidelines, launched in January 2021, stipulate that people deemed to be inadmissible may be eliminated to the secure nation they travelled by if that nation agrees to their return – or in any other case to “any safe third country that will take them”.

Given that the UK has didn’t strike any bilateral returns agreements with EU nations to allow it to ship asylum seekers again to the continent, ministers hope the brand new migration deal will imply they’ll as an alternative take away them to Rwanda.

The settlement requires Rwanda to course of claims in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention, guaranteeing safety from inhuman and degrading therapy.

However, the attorneys argue that there’s “no mechanism in place to ensure that this is done”, including that Rwanda has a “poor human rights record” and that asylum seekers within the nation are “not treated in accordance with [the] acceptable level of treatment accorded to them by international law”.

They cite an Amnesty International report printed in 2019 which describes an incident in February 2018 by which at the least 11 Congolese refugees have been killed when the police opened fireplace on protestors in Karongi city and in Kiziba refugee camp, each in western Rwanda.

The report states that one year on, reasonably than investigating the pointless and/or extreme use of pressure by police, the Rwandan authorities have arrested and prosecuted refugees for his or her involvement within the protests.

The attorneys additionally quote the US authorities’s newest Trafficking in Persons report for 2021, which accuses the Rwandan authorities of detaining 1000’s of potential victims in district transit centres “without conducting adequate screening or referring identified victims to proper care and assistance”.

The report provides the Rwandan authorities investigated fewer trafficking circumstances and prosecuted and convicted fewer traffickers in comparison with the earlier year, and that it “lacked a victim-witness support programme”.

A Home Office spokesperson stated: “Rwanda is a safe and secure country with a track record of supporting over 130,000 refugees, including through the UN Refugee Agency who themselves said the country has a safe and protective environment for refugees.

“This agreement is in line with domestic and international legal obligations and we will defend any legal challenge robustly.”

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