Written by Stephanie Chiu


With the news that the Home Office is planning to send migrants to Rwanda imminently, the following article takes a look at the Rwanda Asylum plan and gives our legal perspective on the policy. The UK government signed the Asylum Partnership Arrangement with Rwanda on the 14th April 2022.


As part of the plan, the government is planning to relocate some asylum seekers to Rwanda on a one-way ticket.  The relocation plan will target single young migrants who have arrived in the UK since 1st January 2022.  The government intends to make the first transfer in the next few weeks.


Once transferred, Rwanda would take responsibility for those sent there. It said that migrants would be “entitled to full protection under Rwandan law” with equal access to employment and services.


The UK government is planning to invest £120 million into the “economic development and growth of Rwanda” as part of the arrangement.


The plan will last for 5 years and may be renewed every year upon request.


What are the current rules for claiming asylum?


Asylum applications must prove they cannot return their home country because they fear persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, social group and political opinion.


Their asylum application can include their partner and any children under 18 if they are in the UK as well.


Further changes to the asylum system


The Royal Navy will take charge of responding to small boats in the British Channel. There is an estimated cost of an additional £50 million for the new arrangement.


Migrants arriving in the UK will be sent to processing centres across the UK. In addition, there will also be a new asylum reception centre in Linton-on-Ouse, in North Yorkshire.


Our comments


This UK government plan is likely to be legally challenged under the 1951 Refugee Convention, the 1967 Protocol and the European Convention on Human Rights.  The Convention should be applied without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin.


While the UK has opened its borders to Ukrainians, other nationalities who have similarly fled persecution are going to be treated with cruelty. This appears to be a double standard based on race and religion which ignores the human dignity of those asylum seekers.


The UK government claims this arrangement can solve irregular entries across the English Channel.  The idea of “extraterritorial processing” is not a new policy and has previously been implemented (then abandoned) by Australia who attempted to negotiate a similar deal with Rwanda until it was discontinued following a Supreme Court ruling in 2017.  The experience of Australia shows that relocating asylum did not prevent attempts of boat crossings.  Between 2014 and 2017, Israel also deported asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda.  Many are thought to have left soon after and smuggled back to Europe as refugees.


Notwithstanding the other factors, Rwanda has human rights issues and been alleged of extrajudicial killings, suspicious deaths in custody, unlawful or arbitrary detention, torture, and abusive prosecutions, particularly in the targeting of critics and dissidents.  UK government has been criticizing the human rights in Rwanda, called for investigations into the above allegations and has even accepted asylum applications from Rwandans in recent years.  Would Rwanda still be considered as “safe place to live” as mentioned by the UK government?


Our advice for all those who have entered the UK and fear persecution upon return to their home country is to claim asylum immediately.


Contact us today and we will assist you in your claim.


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Contact us today and we will assist you in your claim.

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