LONDON (AP) – British judges on Monday gave the go-ahead to the Court of Appeal to hear objections to the UK government’s plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda one way.
In December, two High Court judges ruled the controversial policy was legal, dismissing a lawsuit from several asylum seekers, relief groups and a border guards union. On Monday, the same judges said the applicants could challenge the ruling on issues such as whether the plan is “systemically unfair” and whether asylum seekers would be safe in Rwanda.
No date has been set for the appeal.
The Conservative government last year struck a deportation deal with Rwanda that is meant to deter migrants from trying to get to the UK on the perilous journey across the English Channel. Over 45,000 people crossed the English Channel into the UK in 2022, and several people died trying.
The UK plans to send some migrants arriving as stowaways or on small boats to Rwanda where their asylum claims will be processed. Those who receive asylum will remain in the East African country rather than return to the UK.
The UK government says the policy will deter criminal gangs that ferry migrants on dangerous journeys along one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
Human rights groups say sending people more than 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) to a country they don’t want to live in is immoral and inhumane. .
The UK has already paid £140m ($170m) to Rwanda in an April deal but has yet to send anyone into the country. The UK was forced to cancel the first deportation flight in the last minute of June after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the plan carried a “real risk of irreversible harm”.
Last month, the High Court said the policy did not violate Britain’s obligations under the UN Refugee Convention or other international agreements. But the judges added that the government “must decide whether there is anything in relation to each person’s specific circumstances”, which means they should not be sent to Rwanda, and did not do so for the eight applicants in the case.
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