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Controversial British bill to send asylum seekers to Rwanda passed

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Rishi Sunak had the controversial Rwanda Plan Bill pushed through after he threatened to force the House of Lords to sit in session for as long as needed – including into the night – to pass the government’s proposal. Photo: Alastair Grant / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 23.04.2024 01:40:21

Policy: The Upper House refused for a long time to agree to the government’s proposal, unless they received more amendments and security measures. The case was sent back to the House of Commons with proposed amendments five times. Finally, the Upper House gave in when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the government would force them to sit together far into the night if necessary.

– No ifs and buts. These planes will go to Rwanda, Sunak said earlier in the day, announcing that the government has already chartered planes for the job. The training of personnel is underway, and Sunak promises to start the asylum flights within ten to twelve weeks.

It is expected that King Charles will give his formal consent to the law later this week.

Critics believe the Rwanda plan is inhumane. They are concerned about the human rights situation in the country and the risk of asylum seekers being sent back to countries where they may be in danger.

In addition, the law states that certain British human rights rules do not apply to those covered by the plan. Limitations are also placed on the appeal possibilities.

Several other countries are looking at the possibility of processing asylum applications abroad.

Human rights groups and other organizations have said they will try to stop individual deportations. A union representing border guards is warning it will claim the new law is illegal within days of the first asylum seekers being notified they will be sent to Rwanda.

The previous attempt to implement the government’s Rwanda plan ran aground in the judiciary when the Supreme Court ruled in November last year that it was unlawful. It remains to be seen what the court thinks about the version that has now been adopted.

The Conservative government has made it one of its campaign issues to stop those who come to the country by sea to seek asylum. The plan to send them for reception in Rwanda is part of the strategy, and the hope is that it will give them a boost before the elections later this year. For now, the polls indicate that it is heading for a resounding defeat for Sunak and his party.

One of the contentious elements of the Rwanda proposal is that British judges must consider Rwanda to be safe. This must have been entered to circumvent a ruling from the Supreme Court that the plan to send asylum seekers to the East African country is against the law.

But even if the government has overcome all obstacles in the legislative process, the recent decision may run into legal obstacles.

(© NTB)

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