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23rd Apr 2022

Priti Patel and Home Office facing legal action over Rwanda plans

Danny Jones

Home Office facing legal action over Rwanda asylum plans

An asylum seeker threatened with deportation says it would violate his human rights

Amid the cost of living crisis and Partygate controversies, more pressure is being mounted on the Conservative government following news of Priti Patel and the Home Office facing legal action from an asylum seeker over the controversial Rwanda plans.

Lawyers said representing an anonymous individual who would be removed under the government’s new scheme have lodged a judicial review application, arguing that sending him to Rwanda would violate his human rights.

The legal team claim that they argue that the deal brokered with Rwanda breaks the law in several ways, such as breaching both the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on the grounds of discrimination and denying deportees proper access to the courts and the Geneva Convention, which states that asylum seekers should not be penalised for their method of arrival.

Moreover, speaking to the Independent, the lawyers argue that the policy breaches the law purely on the basis that Rwanda cannot be considered a “safe country” as the UK government claims, given its human rights record.

Solicitor Harjot Singh of Twinwood Law Practice, told the outlet, “We strongly feel that the [policy] is unlawful. I’ve got all my faith in the judicial system. I’ll leave it to the judges”.

Zoe Bantleman, legal director at the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, said “the government is not above the law, which lawyers are professionally and ethically charged to uphold without regard to their politics”, adding that there is concern the government will simply change the law to circumvent such action and further weaken the protection of civilian rights.

Under the Home Office’s impending Rwanda asylum plans – condemned by the Archbishop of Canterbury – those looking to escape war-torn countries and secure safety for their families will be shipped 4,000 miles away as they wait for applications to be processed. Furthermore, should they fail to secure asylum in an EU country, they will then be deported, risking even further life.

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