UN Faults Plan By UK To Send Asylum Seekers To Rwanda
The UN human rights office says it’s still “extremely worried about the impact” of the UK’s government plans to send some migrants to Rwanda if they arrive in the UK through illegal routes.
UK home secretary Suella Braverman has insisted Rwanda is a safe country for migrants.
She said on Sunday that she believed the Rwanda policy would have “a significant deterrent effect” so that people would stop making the journey across the channel to the UK.
But the UN human rights office said assessments done by the UN refugee agency showed that the asylum system in Rwanda was “not robust enough”.
According to the UN agency spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, there are also concerns about respect for the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression in Rwanda.
Which still remain today,” told the BBC’s news-day programme.
She added that the agency have a lot of evidence of how these plans [off-shore asylum facilities] go wrong.
“It is patently unlawful and discriminatory for the UK government to penalise asylum seekers and refugees who belong to a group of nationalities simply because of their alleged irregular entry into the UK. The MoU and plan to send asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda may also violate the internationally recognized right to non-refoulement, and lead to violations of other human rights.
“You will agree with me that the MoU cannot be justified under international law as both UK and Rwanda are states parties to the United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol.
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“Therefore, sending asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda, a country with appalling human rights record will amount to double jeopardy for asylum seekers and refugees: denying them their internationally recognized human rights in the UK while also exposing them to the risks of grave human rights violations in Rwanda.
“The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has already raised a number of concerns about the asylum process in Rwanda, including discriminatory access to asylum, a lack of legal representation and interpreters, and difficulties in launching an appeal.
“Indeed, the Rwandese government has been accused by the UK and other Western countries of violating the human rights of its own people while also denying them access to justice and effective remedies. In the circumstances, it is the height of hypocrisy on the part of the UK to dump the refugees in Rwanda.
“As you are no doubt aware, the rights of the refugees to effective remedies cannot be guaranteed as Rwanda has withdrawn its declaration to the Protocol on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights which allows direct access of individuals and NGOs to the court.
“I, therefore, urge you to immediately halt any plan to send asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda, and to fully and effectively respect, protect, promote and fulfil their human rights to equality, equal treatment and non-discrimination, consistent with the UK’s international legal obligations.
“While thanking you in advance of your attention, I look forward to continued dialogue on the issue.”