Rwanda was “governed out” of consideration for asylum agreement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but put back on in list of potential countries after “special interest” showed Boris Johnson and Priti Patel.
first day of high court challenge over agreement under which the UK will forcibly send asylum seekers to Kigali has been heard new proof on repeated internal warnings against in plans.
Documents filed by lawyers representing several people target for removal, along with PKS unionDetention Action and Care4Calais, showed that consideration of Rwanda for by September 2020, the “migration partnership” had begun.
Dominic Raab, then foreign secretary approved the criteria, which stated countries will be excluded if “persons faced a real risk of violations of international human rights law”.
Rwanda made long list of 47 countries, but after further investigation by government officials, list of seven countries are recommended as potential partners in February 2021.
Documents provided to applicants government show that it appeared instead on a list of “fourteen countries presenting significant problems in relation to asylum systems and human rights and/or the possibility of political negotiations.”
The official introduction to Mr Raab says: “We have looked very closely at Rwanda, which previously agreed to a migration partnership… but raises serious human rights issues.”
It stated that Rwanda was “accused of recruitment of refugees for operations in neighboring countries”, had a” despotic guard system” and that the previous transaction with Israel was suspended.
In March 2021 Downing Street policy unit informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that wanted information on countries outside seven proposed countries, but Rwanda was still not on the list.
Representation in former foreign secretary said: “No 10 asked us watch again on viability of [redacted] Rwanda [redacted]. We previously managed all these countries out on political and/or legal grounds. we see little reason change it.”
A May 2021 Foreign Office document stated that Downing Street “continued show interest” in Rwanda, but officials “continued to advise No. 10 against engagement.”
An internal evaluation conducted the following month found that “politically motivated human rights violations (torture, killings, kidnappings) common”and what were the” fears over Violation of an individual’s rights for political opposition.”
But in June last yearThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs was informed that prime minister was “disappointed rate of progress” on asylum deal with foreign country and shared “a special interest in Rwanda” with Miss Patel and Immigration minister.
Mr. Raab then authorized the diplomatic staff in Rwanda to contact with countries government on a possible deal that has been signed in April, despite further internal government warnings over its processing of refugees.
Priti Patel Praises Rwanda as Supreme Court challenge starts
While the Supreme Court case began on On Monday, Ms. Patel retweeted a video from the Home Office praising Rwanda as “an incredible country with a very, very progressive and developed an approach in terms of No just how They treat people but how they are controlled.”
Appearance in outgoing frames home secretary said the deal with Rwanda was “important” and “set new international standards.”
Plaintiff’s legal argument states that home secretary and UK government more were generally aware of and seems to have serious misgivings over Current and historical human rights in Rwanda recordand that “concerns have been repeatedly expressed public officials.”
Appeal to the High Court on On Monday, Raza Hussein QC said that Rwanda was “one-party authoritarian state with extreme levels of surveillance that brooks no political opposition.”
“He imprisons, tortures and kills those whom he considers his opponents”, advocate added.
“Those who protest or disagreement government directives, including on refugees, faced with police violence and repression”.
Incidents mentioned include a 2018 protest in which several refugees were shot to death. dead Rwandan police, while other demonstrators were charged with crimes, including “distributing false information with intention to create a hostile international opinion against Rwandan state.
Rwanda also accused of violation of the Refugee Convention by refoulement of asylum seekers, countries Where are they face persecution and allowing “disappearances” of migrants displaced by Israel.
“Nobody of it’s will of parliament,” Hussein told the High Court. “It’s a question of executive policy alone and subject to scrutiny on this foundation.”
In the official assessment published in May, English government declared Rwanda a “safe third country” for goal of asylum processing, but the applicants dispute the accuracy of document.
The High Court heard that the project version was divided with officials of Rwanda before publication, and the recommendations and revisions of the internal government the reviewers were ignored.
An official from the country of the Ministry of the Interior policy information team wrote that he “tried to improve the tone without resorting to fiction” and wanted restructure the document to “make it sound more positive”.
But a reviewer from the Foreign Office recommended numerous changes, saying that the assessment should not be “whitewashed” and should not the attribute “beautiful clear data” on Human rights in Rwanda record to “certain NGOs”.
Written arguments on on behalf of of in home secretary said that asylum applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and that “no risk of harm to anyone of individual applicants in Rwanda”.
Lawyers acting for The Home Office told the High Court that after a “dramatic increase” in small boat crossings over English Channel, Ms. Patel “believes that there is a strong public interest in preventing such illegal, dangerous and unnecessary travel from a safe third countries to the UK as asylum seekers.
They are added: “To achieve this goal, the UK has sought to form a partnership with another third country to which asylum seekers who have made such trips to the UK could be safely relocated.
“This third country should be safe, but not as attractive to migrants as the UK. Several countries were considered, but Rwanda was first to be chosen.”
Hearing, due last for five days continues.