UK’s Supreme Court blocked a government plan to send asylum seekers, notably those from the LGBTQ+ community, to Rwanda. The judge deemed Rwanda unsafe for LGBTQ+ refugees although supporters of the plan had argued it was.
“The evidence shows that there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk that asylum claims will not be determined properly, and that asylum seekers will therefore be at risk of being returned directly or indirectly to their country of origin,” the court’s president Lord Reed said while announcing the “unanimous” judgement.
“The changes and capacity-building needed to eliminate that risk may be delivered in the future, but they were not shown to be in place when the lawfulness of the Rwanda policy had to be considered in these proceedings.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pushed for this plan as a part of his tough immigration policies backed by his Conservative party. No asylum seekers were sent to Rwanda, but flights were planned June 2022 then cancelled due to legal challenges.
Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, has been a longtime opponent of the policy.
“The Tories shouldn’t need a court to tell them that sending refugees thousands of miles away, to a country known for human rights abuses, is morally reprehensible. This government should be ashamed that it even considered this evil idea,” she told GAY TIMES.
“The judge confirmed today that not only is the Rwanda plan incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, but also the Refugee Convention, the UN Convention Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“It’s time to stop playing politics with the lives of vulnerable people and instead create a functional asylum system with humanity and compassion at its heart.”
Leila Zadeh, Executive Director at Rainbow Migration, a charity that provides practical and emotional support for LGBTQIA+ people seeking asylum, felt this day should be celebrated. “This is a day for national celebration. The judges at the UK’s highest court have stopped this trade in humans and many people in the UK who have fled unimaginable horrors can breathe a sigh of relief,” she said.