The Government’s Controversial Rwanda Proposal Explained

Written by on 6th July 2023

One of the current Conservative party’s flagship policies, the controversial Rwanda policy, has recently run into a major setback in the form of the UK supreme court.

The Rwanda policy was a proposed solution by the conservative party in 2022 to the ongoing migrant crisis, backed strongly by Rishi Sunak and Suella Braverman. In short, it stated that any illegal migrant or asylum seeker who crossed the channel as of January 1, 2023, would be deported to Rwanda, a small, central African nation deemed a “safe country” by the Government.

From the beginning, the policy has faced a large amount of controversy and backlash from fellow politicians, pressure groups and human rights advocates. Many have claimed it to be inhuman, a violation of the human rights act, and not representative of Britain and its values. Many have argued that Rwanda is not a safe country, pointing to the past genocide of 1994 during Rwanda’s civil war, in which it is estimated 500,000 to 800,000 people were killed. The country has also been claimed to not have the capacity for further immigrants and deportation, with almost 14 million people currently living in the country, a large population by African standards.

Supporters have claimed that Rwanda is a reformed and safe country, a view shared and promoted by Suella Braverman. Supporters also claim that Rwanda will act as a deterrent for illegal immigration, making migrants and illegal immigrants think twice about coming to the UK across the channel.

However, recent decisions by the UK supreme court seem to suggest that the policy is unlawful. As of June 29, two out of three appeal court judges stated that asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda would not be safe and could still be forcibly returned to their home country. While the judges were not in united agreement, it seems clear that much of the supreme court disagrees with the already controversial policy.

Suella Braverman still stands by the policy, ensuring MPs that she will do “whatever it takes to stop the boats”. She argues that the current use of the asylum-seeking system is being abused and is not fair for local communities and taxpayers.

Rishi Sunak’s official response has been that they will appeal the decision, with Government lawyers having until July 6 to loge said appeal. The future of this policy is shaky, with a lack of support from Labour, the supreme court and the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights). This hinders Rishi Sunak’s pledge to “Stop the Boats”, a highlight of his five pledges to try and gain a Conservative re-election. The next general election must be held before January 24, 2025.

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