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Britain proposes bypassing human rights laws to allow migrants deportation to Rwanda

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Britain published draft emergency legislation on Wednesday that it hopes will allow its Rwandan migrant deportation plan to finally take off by bypassing domestic and international human rights laws that might block it.

The Safety of Rwanda Bill, published the day after Britain signed a new treaty with Rwanda, is designed to overcome a ruling by the United Kingdom Supreme court that the government's proposed initiative to send thousands of asylum-seekers to the East African country was unlawful.

The government said that the bill was "the toughest immigration legislation ever introduced" and that it would be fast-tracked through parliament. But it suffered a blow when the immigration minister resigned over it. It shows the divisiveness of the proposals in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's governing Conservative Party, and it could also trigger further legal challenges.

"Through this new landmark emergency legislation, we will control our borders, deter people taking perilous journeys across the channel and end the continuous legal challenges filling our courts," Sunak said in a statement. He has vowed that flights would begin in the spring next year.

"We will disapply sections of the Human Rights Act from the key parts of the Bill, specifically in the case of Rwanda, to ensure our plan cannot be stopped," he said in the statement.

The bill will instruct judges to ignore some sections of the Human Rights Act and "any other provision or rule of domestic law, and any interpretation of international law by the court or tribunal" that might deem that Rwanda was not a safe country to send asylum- seekers.

Ministers alone would also decide on whether to comply with any injunction from the European Court of Human Rights, which issued an interim order blocking the first planned flight last year.

The Rwanda plan is at the center of Sunak's immigration policy, and its success is likely to be key to the fortunes of his Conservative Party, trailing by about 20 points in opinion polls, before an election expected next year and with the issue one of the biggest concerns among voters.

It was not clear whether the bill will satisfy Sunak's critics on the right of the party who have called for Britain to leave the European Convention on Human Rights altogether. Earlier, former Home Minister Suella Braverman warned that a weak bill would lead to "electoral oblivion."

Interior Minister James Cleverly confirmed that Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick had resigned from government after he was absent from a debate in parliament on the issue. Meanwhile, conservatives who had warned they might not support a bill that flouts international law welcomed assurances from the government that the measures were legal.

"It is a bill which is lawful. It is fair and it is necessary, because people will only stop coming here illegally when they know that they cannot stay here," Cleverly told parliament.

However, legal commentators said the new legislation would inevitably face challenges in the courts.

"If the government had wished to avoid legal challenges and had also had a high degree of confidence that Rwanda, in fact, is — and will continue to be — a safe place, it seems unlikely that it would have chosen to introduce a bill in this form," said Nick Vineall, chair of the Bar Council.

The government says the Rwanda initiative would deter migrants from paying smugglers to ferry them from Europe across the channel to Britain. Almost 29,000 people have arrived on the southern English coast without permission this year, after a record 45,755 were detected in 2022.

Meanwhile, the cost of housing the 175,000 migrants awaiting an asylum decision is costing $10 million a day. In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the plan would violate international human rights laws enshrined in domestic legislation because deficiencies in the Rwanda asylum system meant migrants were at risk of being sent back to homelands where they were at risk of abuse.

The government said its new binding treaty, which replaced a memorandum of understanding, together with the new law, will satisfy those concerns. Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said it was important that the partnership with Britain was lawful.

"Without lawful behavior by the U.K., Rwanda would not be able to continue with the ... partnership," he said.

The opposition Labour Party's home affairs spokesperson Yvette Cooper criticized the government's new law, saying, "The only thing stopping the British government ignoring international law completely is the Rwandan government.

"[Cleverly] has a treaty and a law he knows will not stop dangerous boat crossings,” she said.


+7 #1 Lysol 2023-12-07 22:16
Sunak is doing what Idi Amin did to his parents? The boy was born in 1980, the first time I visited London.
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+3 #2 Covid 2023-12-08 19:39
Yea Sunak wants to do something illegal that bypasses or contradicts international law or human rights and supposes no draw-back from such a decision?

Is Rwanda the only country in Africa, why Rwanda?
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-2 #3 Mubiru 2023-12-09 03:18
This is a good and bitter lesson to the countries called developed which interfere in other countries' affairs especially Africa.

Labour government led by Tony Blair ousted Gadafi because according to them Gadafi was a Dictator unfit to rule. During his rule Gadafi was so powerful that he never allowed boats' smugglers to use his Libya ports to flood immigrants into UK.

At one time Gadafi warned Europe not to interfere in his country's affairs otherwise he would let off immigrants to cross the sea.

When David Cameron Conservative leader became Prime Minister after defeating Labour he removed Saddam Hussein. Saddam like Gadafi could never allow Arabs and other immigrants to use their countries as bases for boats' smugglers.

The boats smugglers are making millions by charging immigrants huge sums of money to use their boats to reach UK via Europe at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean sea. Ghosts of murdered Saddam and Gadafi are hauntingly punishing UK for interference
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0 #4 Abalang 2023-12-09 15:24
They pretend to be enforcers of human rights in other countries, while breaking them in their own under the guise of emergency laws! What a shame!

They think they can get to decide what human rights are, when they apply and when to discard!

I advice African Union to come up with human rights that embody African context and values and have member countries enforce those.
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0 #5 Akot 2023-12-09 20:53
Lysol, thanks.

Sunak isn't aware he wasen't elected by Brits but by those already in official posts & this after B.Johonson & T. May were rejected before end of 5 years term!

But Sunak is telling the world Rwanda, ruled by Kagame since 2000 is a democracy like UK & refugees who should be in their shitholes to ensure change & good gove(rnance, should be taken to Rwanda!

But of course Kagame will get at least 15% of money given for the refugees, just as his brother Museveni does in Uganda!
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0 #6 Akot 2023-12-09 21:01
Covid, thanks.

Sunak ignores that Rwanda is a solid dictatorship & Kagame is lifetime ruler & Rwandese who go against him are with his brother Museveni & made Uganda their home land!

Ugandans ended Sudanese Idi Amin's ownership of their land & Sudanese/S. Sudanese left Uganda!

Time Ugandans end Rwandese Museveni's ownership of their land in UNITY, NOW & so that he goes back to Rwanda!
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