The UK government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda does not breach the law, the High Court in London Monday ruled. The decision is based on UK human rights groups’ request for an injunction to prevent the removal of asylum seekers in June.
In the decision, two senior judges at the High Court of England and Wales dismissed challenges against the policy as a whole. But those same judges ruled in favor of eight asylum seekers, finding the UK government had acted wrongly in their individual cases.
One of the judges, Lord Justice Lewis, said, “The court has concluded that it is lawful for the government to make arrangements for relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda and for their asylum claims to be determined in Rwanda rather than in the United Kingdom.” But he added that the home secretary “has not properly considered” eight individual cases, meaning the decisions to send these people to Rwanda will now be returned to the Home Office.
Four asylum seekers and the groups Care4Calais, Detention Action and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) filed for an injunction against former UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. The groups seek a judicial review of the UK-Rwanda removal program. In addition, the groups seek to halt the removal flights which began in June.
In response to the ruling, Care4 Calais said they were “considering all…legal options, including appealing to a higher court.” Detention Action Deputy Director James Wilson also said that Detention Action was disappointed in the ruling. Wilson said, “The Rwanda policy is brutal and harmful and we will now consider an appeal against today’s judgment.”
The UK-Rwanda partnership has drawn widespread criticism since it was announced by previous UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in April of this year. Part of the partnership that has drawn the most criticism is the removal program, wherein anyone who illegally enters the UK and does not voluntarily return to their home country faces removal to Rwanda. If these applications to challenge the removal were successful, the asylum seekers would be allowed to stay in Rwanda rather than returning to the UK, as part of a £120 million deal with the Rwandan government.
UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman has not yet commented on the ruling.