New treaty not an overnight solution

The Home Secretary has today (5 December) signed a new treaty with Rwanda following last month’s Supreme Court ruling that the government’s policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful.*

The Law Society of England and Wales has previously raised concerns in relation to asylum seekers being returned to their own country from Rwanda. It was on this legal ground that the Supreme Court found the policy unlawful.

“It remains unclear how this new treaty overcomes the ruling made by the highest court in the United Kingdom – that the Rwanda policy is unlawful,” said Law Society president Nick Emmerson.

“While parliament has the right to respond to a court judgment by passing legislation to change a point of domestic law, the Supreme Court’s finding in this case was on a point of fact, based on a core and well-established principle of international law.

“That fact is that Rwanda is not considered a safe country given the high risk of refoulement of asylum seekers. Neither a treaty nor domestic legislation can overnight provide adequate means of safeguarding the rights of people removed to Rwanda.

“We will be carefully considering the terms of the treaty and legislation when they are available. For now, the UK government must at a minimum make sure that ample opportunity is given to parliament to properly scrutinise both.”

Notes to editors

• * See the treaty announcement here

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