Supreme Court Rules UK-Rwanda Removals Agreement to be Unlawful

We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court and are deeply relieved that people seeking asylum here will not be handed over to an authoritarian regime, putting them at more risk of abuse and exploitation.

We are proud to have been one of the first claimants to bring this historic legal challenge, in solidarity with the thousands of people threatened with removal to Rwanda.

This policy would have experimented with people’s lives and the public’s money, with no evidence that it would act as a deterrent to other people seeking asylum.

The UK was one of the founding signatories of the Refugee Convention, an international treaty created in the aftermath of World War II to ensure that any person could be offered protection from persecution, wherever they come from.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling has helped to reinforce that commitment, but there is much more work to be done.

First, the government must abandon this policy altogether, rather than simply repeating its mistakes by legislating against this decision or by seeking a similar agreement with another country.

It is simply unacceptable for this government to try and buy its way out of our responsibility to refugees. To uphold our commitment to protecting refugees, we must consider people’s asylum applications in the UK, fairly and efficiently, and on their individual merits.

Second, this government continues to hold thousands of people in detention unnecessarily and without any time limit. Indefinite detention has been shown time and time again to be extremely harmful to the health of people detained.

The Illegal Migration Act creates new powers for the Home Secretary to detain even more people, including children, and attempts to limit the courts’ scrutiny of detention.

Already, this government is planning to build more prison-like detention centres across the country, which would remove the rights and freedoms of thousands more people.

Third, around 90,000 people are being forced to live in limbo for months or years, as part of this government’s asylum backlog, with no idea of when they can begin rebuilding their lives.

These draconian policies do nothing but keep people in limbo and deny them the right to rebuild their lives in peace.

The cost of these policies to the public is also enormous, but cheaper, more viable alternatives exist that would allow people to live in our communities while their immigration and asylum cases are resolved.