OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
11:11 AM – Wednesday, November 15, 2023
The United Kingdom’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda has been shut down by the British Supreme Court, a decision that undermines one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s key points in his campaign for reelection.
The plan to send asylum-seekers to the central African state of Rwanda was intended to deter the influx of migrants making the dangerous trip across the English Channel from France. This proposal faced strong criticism from international human rights organizations, lawmakers, and migrant charities.
Prime Minister Sunak had promised to curb the number of unauthorized migrations, using the slogan “Stop the Boats” as part of his reelection campaign. Sunak has been in power for 13 years and is pushing to secure his sixth consecutive term in office.
However, a group of five unnamed migrants — three from Syria, one from Iran and one from Iraq — challenged the legality of the plan in an appeal and argued that Rwanda does not count as a “safe country.”
Five judges at the supreme court voted to uphold the appeal court ruling, citing extreme risks in the immigration plan. According to the ruling, if refugees are incorrectly assessed and sent to Rwanda or back to their home country, they could face violent persecution.
According to the judges, there is “a real risk that persons sent to Rwanda would be returned to their home countries where they face persecution or other inhumane treatment when, in fact, they have a good claim for asylum.”
The policy was deemed illegal because the U.K. follows the European Convention on Human Rights, which requires states to ensure people are not subjected to torture and other forms of mistreatment.
The ruling is a blow to Sunak’s key immigration policy, in which he consistently pledged to dissatisfied voters that he would “stop the boats.” The government has also reportedly gave Rwanda an initial £140 million ($174 million) to receive migrants who made the 4,000-mile trip. However, no migrants have been sent so far and with Wednesday’s ruling, it looks like it will stay that way.
Sunak responded to the Supreme Court’s move, contending that he is committed to “stopping the boats.”
“This was not the outcome we wanted, but we have spent the last few months planning for all eventualities and we remain completely committed to stopping the boats,” Sunak said in a statement.
Official figures indicate that over 20,000 individuals have completed the crossing this year, with 800 in a single day. Although this is lower than the 2022 figure, which exceeded 45,000, the current influx is straining certain local authorities in the U.K.
Given the national housing crisis, some migrants are being accommodated in hotels and student residences.
Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here. https://www.oann.com/alerts