The Rwandan government said Thursday it remains fully committed to the migration deal with the United Kingdom while responding to the UK Court of Appeal ruling which said earlier in the day that the “plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful.”
The UK reached a deal with Rwanda in April 2022, under which illegal immigrants and asylum seekers are to be sent to the East African country to have their claims processed there.
On Thursday, the UK Court of Appeal, however, reversed last December’s High Court decision that said Rwanda was a safe third country for asylum seekers and refugees.
“The High Court’s decision that Rwanda was a safe third country is reversed and that unless and until the deficiencies in its asylum processes are corrected removal of asylum-seekers to Rwanda will be unlawful,” the appeal court ruled.
In a statement, the Rwandan government said it disagreed with the ruling.
While Thursday’s ruling is “ultimately a decision for the UK’s judicial system, we do take issue with the ruling that Rwanda is not a safe country for asylum seekers and refugees,” the statement said.
Last December, judges at the UK’s High Court ruled that the British government’s plan to send asylum-seekers on a one-way trip to Rwanda is lawful, but they also criticized the government for failing to properly assess the circumstances of the eight individuals it tried to move under the scheme earlier that year.
The deal, however, faced another legal obstacle after asylum seekers challenged the High Court ruling in the UK Court of Appeal.
Reacting to the latest verdict, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he “fundamentally disagrees” with the ruling of the Court of Appeal and the government will challenge it in the Supreme Court.
“Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work,” read the Rwandan government statement. “When the migrants do arrive, we will welcome them and provide them with the support they’ll need to build new lives in Rwanda.”
The British government hoped the deal will help deter migrants from making the risky journey across the English Channel on small boats.
Rwanda and UK government officials have touted the migration deal as a “partnership that presents an important development in efforts to address irregular immigrants.”