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UK decried by UN for unlawful Rwanda deportation policy

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. (File Image)

The United Nations has lashed out at the UK for its controversial immigration legislation, warning it could have profound consequences for the people in need of international protection.

The UN Refugee and Human Rights Chief, Volker Türk, condemned the passage of the bill as a breach of international law and warned it would expose refugees to grave risks.

 He said the so called illegal migration bill, which has been passed by the parliament and now awaits the formality of the Royal Assent from King Charles III is "at variance with the country's obligations under international human rights and refugee law and will have profound consequences for the people in need of international protection”.

Turk also added that the bill would set a "worrying precedent for dismantling asylum related obligations that other countries, including in Europe, may be tempted to follow."

The bill would outlaw asylum claims by all arrivals via the British Channel and other illegal routes and deport them, either to the country of origin, or a third nation, such as Rwanda.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, also condemned the passage of the legislation as a breach of international law.

This new legislation significantly erodes the legal framework that has protected so many.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi

But the problem with the government's bill from international law perspective is that it plans to abolish the right, and it's a very important right, of asylum seekers to apply, in any country where they end up, for asylum.

Geoffrey Robertson, Human Rights Barrister

The plan to deport asylum seekers has been criticized by some opposition politicians, lawyers and civil rights groups, as inhumane, cruel and ineffective.

The Scottish Refugee Council, a charity that provides advice and services to refugees in the UK, said in a tweet that is devastating to know the UK illegal migration bill is now set to become law.

Enver Solomon, the CEO of the Refugee Council, has also criticized the law saying the overall bill remains unworkable and will lead to human misery and huge cost to the taxpayer.

So, the government's got no plan. It's got a gimmick, which is the Rwanda scheme, a gimmick which has already cost the taxpayer £114 million, and nobody's been removed.

Keir Starmer, Labour Party Leader

The Conservative government's flagship legislation will prevent most people from claiming asylum in the UK, the legislation is central to the Prime Minister's pledge to stop small boats crossing the English Channel.

The government claims they will prevent people from claiming asylum in the UK if they arrive through unauthorized means.

Deportation flights to Rwanda are unlikely to start until next year at the earliest and will still hinge on a ruling by the Supreme Court on its legality later this year.

The deficiencies in the asylum system in Rwanda are such that there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk that persons sent to Rwanda will be returned to their home countries, where they face persecution or other inhumane treatment, when in fact, they have a good claim for asylum.

In that sense, Rwanda is not a safe third country.

Ian Duncan Burnett, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales

Britain struck an initial £140 million deal with Rwanda last year. The first planned Rwanda deportation flight was blocked a year ago in a last minute ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

Last year a record 45,755 people came to Britain in small boats across the channel, mainly from France. More than 12,000 have arrived this year, a rate similar to 2022.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has vowed to stop the boats, has insisted the Rwanda plan would have an important deterrent effect by showing that no one who arrives illegally in the UK will be allowed to stay.

Some analysts believe the Tories insistence on the bill is partly due to the conservative government's poor ratings in the polls.

The governing Conservative Party has plummeted in the polls in recent years and, as things stand, it is very unlikely that they could win the next general election.

It is a mess, typical of a Tory government. Sorry, I've got nothing good to say about them.

Passerby 01

I think we need a change, but there's not really anybody suitable, I don't think, because they are all of the same ilk, they all think the same; but we do need a change.

Passerby 02

The Home Office has declared that the number of small boat arrivals has overwhelmed the UK asylum system and is costing taxpayers 6 million pounds a day to provide hotel accommodation.

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