With this ruling, the pillar of the immigration policy pursued by the Sunak government disappears. Sending illegal immigrants to the African country aims to stop canal migration. Through Lord Reid, the Supreme Court categorically indicated that Rwanda already had such an agreement with Israel. The government in Kigali did not adhere to the agreements. The Rwandan government reacted negatively to this accusation immediately after the ruling.
Last June, the first plane almost left for Rwanda, but at the last minute a European judge from Strasbourg stopped the deportation flight. He decided that British judges should rule first on this policy. Earlier this year, a court gave the green light to this controversial policy, but professional judges thought differently. The Supreme Court followed the appeals judges and appears to have completely destroyed the Rwanda plan.
About the author
Patrick van Ijzendoorn is the Great Britain and Ireland correspondent De Volkskrant. He has lived in London since 2003 and has written several books there, including on Brexit.
The UK Government will continue to look for ways to reduce the number of migrants crossing the Channel illegally on small boats. Opinion polls showed that the Rwanda plan had the support of the British people. One possibility is to conclude a new agreement with Rwanda that explicitly stipulates that migrants will not be returned to their countries of origin, but the Supreme Court has raised so many questions about Rwanda’s asylum policy that this path appears disastrous.
Ignoring human rights
London may also choose to ignore the European Convention on Human Rights. According to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who was sacked on Monday, this was Rishi Sunak’s plan initially, until he backed out of it. I wrote this in a letter to the Prime Minister that I published yesterday. Another option is to leave the European Court of Human Rights, something Braverman supports, as part of the group. The problem here is that the Supreme Court relied not only on European law, but also on British law.
The government could also choose to place Turkey, Egypt, and Iraqi Kurdistan on the list of safe countries. Many illegal immigrants come from those countries. This would make returning easier. New Home Secretary James Cleverley will give his response in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon. The number of migrants crossing the English Channel fell this year thanks to an agreement with Albania, the country where many migrants come from. Countries such as Germany, Italy and Austria are watching Britain’s deportation policy with interest.
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