On Tuesday, 12 December, the House of Commons in London, United Kingdom accepted the proposed bill concerning the resettlement of asylum seekers who illegally crossed British borders to Rwanda, despite several representatives from the governing party voting against the motion.
The proposal, presented by the Conservative Party-led government, stipulates that the Central African state is a secure destination for resettlement. This legislative initiative comes in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s Supreme Court declaring last month that relocating asylum seekers arriving illegally in the United Kingdom to Rwanda is unlawful. The court’s rationale highlights the risk that the Rwandan government might repatriate these asylum seekers to countries from which they fled or to other nations where they may face persecution or harm. Such actions would contravene both British and international human rights protocols.
In its second reading—that is, in its not yet final form, but following a general debate on the proposal—the bill was accepted on Tuesday evening, indicating the government’s intent to address this objection.
If eventually approved, the legislation will also declare that individuals entering the UK illegally in the future cannot seek asylum and cannot legally challenge their resettlement to Rwanda
citing the risk of their potential deportation from Rwanda to other, unsafe countries. According to the draft, British courts will not entertain lawsuits invoking Rwanda as an unsafe resettlement destination.
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government entered into a migration agreement with the Rwandan government in April 2022. This agreement, which includes a £140 million (approximately 62 billion HUF) British economic aid package for the African nation, would enable the British authorities to resettle those who illegally enter British territory and subsequently seek asylum to Rwanda. The justification for the agreement by the then British government was rooted in an ‘innovative approach,’ providing a secure and lawful avenue for asylum requests while disrupting the business model of human trafficking criminal organizations. For an extended period, thousands have been attempting to illegally cross from the European continent to British shores each year, mostly organized by human traffickers in groups departing in inflatable boats. To counter this, the Johnson government forged the resettlement agreement with Rwanda.
Following the Supreme Court’s rejection, the current government under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak signed a new agreement with the Rwandan government just last week.
The amended accord specifies that Rwanda will not further deport illegal border crossers from the UK to countries where their lives or freedoms may be in jeopardy. This is complemented by the draft legislation, preliminarily accepted after the general debate on Tuesday, designating Rwanda as a secure destination country.
The fate of the motion was uncertain right up until the votes in the House were tallied, as many members of the governing Conservative Party faction indicated their inability to accept the proposal, deeming the suggested legislation insufficiently radical. In the event of the proposal’s failure, several members of the Tory faction’s right wing signalled their readiness to initiate a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
However, after a five-and-a-half-hour debate during the second reading, the proposal was accepted by the Lower House with a 44-vote margin majority.
Source: Hungarian Conservative/MTI