British judges have given the green light to the Court of Appeal to consider challenges to the British government’s plan to send some asylum seekers one way to Rwanda.
Two High Court judges ruled in December that the controversial policy was legal, ignoring legal action by several asylum seekers, help groups, and a union of border agents. The same judges said on Monday that claimants could challenge the decision, questioning whether the plan is “systematically unfair” and whether asylum seekers would be safe in Rwanda.
Last year, the Conservative government struck a removal deal with Rwanda designed to prevent migrants from trying to reach the UK on risky journeys across the English Channel. More than 45,000 people arrived in Britain through the English Channel in 2022, and many died during the attempt.
The United Kingdom plans to transfer migrants who arrive in the country as stowaways or in small boats to Rwanda, where their asylum declarations would be processed. Those granted asylum would stay in the East African country rather than return to Britain.
The UK government argues the policy will deter criminal gangs ferrying migrants on dangerous journeys on one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
Human rights groups say it is sinful and cruel to send people over 6,400 km to a country where they do not want to live. They also mention Rwanda’s poor human rights record, including claims of torture and killings of government opponents.