UK's Cleverly to sign new asylum treaty with Rwanda

  • World
  • Tuesday, 05 Dec 2023

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shakes hands with Rwandan President Paul Kagame at Downing Street in London, Britain May 4, 2023. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

(Reuters) - British interior minister James Cleverly will sign a new treaty with Rwanda on Tuesday over its asylum plan after the UK's top court declared the deportation scheme unlawful, the British Home Office said on Monday.

Cleverly will arrive in Rwanda's capital Kigali on Tuesday morning and meet with the country's foreign minister, Vincent Biruta, to sign the treaty.

Britain had intended to send tens of thousands of asylum seekers who arrived on its shores without permission to Rwanda in a bid to deter migrants crossing the Channel from Europe in small boats. The plan has been closely watched by other countries considering similar policies.

The United Kingdom's Supreme Court last month ruled the flights to Rwanda would violate international human rights laws enshrined in domestic legislation.

Since then, Britain has been seeking to renegotiate its agreement with Rwanda to include a binding treaty that it would not expel asylum seekers sent there by Britain - one of the court's major concerns.

The court ruled the Rwanda policy unlawful, citing a risk that deported refugees would have their claims wrongly assessed or that they would be returned to their country of origin to face persecution.

The court said the plan breached international treaties and protocols, including the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations' Refugee Convention and Convention against Torture.

"Rwanda cares deeply about the rights of refugees, and I look forward to meeting with counterparts to sign this agreement and further discuss how we work together tackle the global challenge of illegal migration," Cleverly said.

(Reporting by Rishabh Jaiswal in Bengaluru, Muvija M and Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Leslie Adler and Richard Chang)

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