UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised emergency legislation and a new treaty with Rwanda Wednesday to ensure his flagship asylum policy of sending UK asylum-seekers to Rwanda is not blocked again after the Supreme Court ruled it unlawful Tuesday.
In a thread on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), Sunak said he was “taking the extraordinary step of introducing emergency legislation to confirm Rwanda is safe…I am prepared to change our laws and revisit those international relationships to remove the obstacles in our way.” Sunak continued saying “This will provide a guarantee in law that those who are relocated from the UK to Rwanda will be protected against removal from Rwanda and it will make clear that we will bring back anyone if ordered to do so by a court.”
Former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Lord Jonathan Sumption criticized attempts to define Rwanda as a safe country by changing the law as it would not be recognized internationally. Sumption told The Independent newspaper:
I would have thought it was obvious that the Lord’s is going to be the main focus of opposition and they may throw it out altogether…If the courts are told [by an Act of Parliament] that they’ve got to pretend that Rwanda is safe, whether it is or not, then that will work domestically. But it won’t work internationally. It will still be a breach of the government’s international law obligations.
Bar Council chairman
Nick Vineall KC said it would “would raise profound and important questions about the respective role of the courts and parliament in countries that subscribe to the Rule of Law” and any legislation would need to be considered through “careful consideration”.