29 June 2023, The Tablet

Charities demand end of ‘shameful’ Rwanda policy after new ruling

Two of the three appeals court judges found that Rwanda was not a “safe third country”.

Charities demand end of ‘shameful’ Rwanda policy after new ruling

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal against the December High Court ruling that the Rwanda policy was legal.
Márcio Cabral de Moura/flickr | Creative Commons

Catholic charities have welcomed a Court of Appeal ruling against the government’s plans to deport people who arrive in the UK by illegal routes to Rwanda.

Cafod’s head of campaigns, Aisha Dowell, said this should prompt the government “to look again at its shameful policy and its treatment of migrants and refugees”.

“The government’s plans to send people seeking safety to Rwanda are not only immoral but have now proven to be unlawful,” she said, following the announcement of the decision this morning.

She continued: “As Pope Francis has made clear, the world needs to show maximum respect for the dignity of each migrant by building bridges, not walls, as well as providing routes for safe and regular migration.”

The lord chief justice, Lord Burnett, said that two of the three judges had found that Rwanda “is not a ‘safe third country’”, upholding the appeal against the High Court ruling in December that the Rwanda policy was legal.

He added that the decision “implies no view whatever about the political merits or otherwise of the Rwanda policy”.

Both the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, and the home secretary, Suella Braverman, said that the government would seek to appeal this ruling, while the Rwandan government said that it had been “recognised by the UNHCR and other international institutions for our exemplary treatment of refugees”.

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) welcomed the judgement and said that it would continue to campaign against the “cruel policy”.

Its UK director, Sarah Teather, said: “Plans forcibly to send men, women and children seeking sanctuary here to Rwanda are inhuman. They are also completely impractical.

“They are destructive, and mean slamming the door shut on refugees, denying our duty to offer refugees sanctuary.”

The JRS said that the scheme was both inhumane and ineffective, neither saving money nor deterring illegal arrivals in the UK.

“The court judgement further exposes the government’s plans as based on fiction,” the charity said in a statement.

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