New Rwanda Bill: Ministers Given the Power to Disregard Some Human Rights Law

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The ‘Safety of Rwanda Bill’ that was introduced to parliament on Thursday (and will be voted on tomorrow), admitted on the first page that it is not compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights.

The legislation was drafted to address the concerns of the supreme court, from last month’s ruling.

Based on ignorance: the bill orders courts to overlook key human rights protection

The bill, which is yet to be voted on by parliament, demands the courts ignore key sections of the Human Rights Act as well as other international laws including the International Refugee Convention in order to sidestep the Supreme’s existing judgement. In short, any and all domestic Legislation or provision under common law that stands in the way of successful deportations to Rwanda is to be ignored.

Although asylum seekers will be able to challenge their removal to Rwanda based on personal circumstances, the bill allows ministers to ignore emergency orders from the European Court of Human Rights to suspend a flight to Rwanda whilst an individual legal case is still being heard.

Rwanda: a ‘Safe country’?

The bill declares that all ‘decision makers’ (i.e. courts and tribunal) should treat Rwanda as a ‘safe country’ and should disregard claims that Rwanda will not act in accordance with the Refugee Convention and will treat all asylum claims fairly.

Bearing in mind this was one of the major concerns of the supreme court, it does not do much to ensure refugee’s safety but rather glosses over, and authorizes potential human rights abuses.

Comments by Conservatives:

It is concerning that these inhumane measures have been criticized by some conservative MPs, including former immigration minister Robert Jenrick, who branded the draft law ‘weak’ and claimed it ‘does not do the job’.

Comments by Former Supreme Court judge Lord Jonathan Sumption:

He has said that the government’s attempt to use legislation to get around the Supreme Court ruling was “profoundly discreditable” and the policy would still breach international law obligations.

Of all of the hills, it is incomprehensible that this is the one the Tory party wants to die on. Their obsession with this cruel policy highlights their lack of humanity and disregard for the law and human rights.

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