Lord Burnett set out his dissenting opinion, telling the court that he agreed that the procedures put in place in Rwanda and the assurances provided by the Rwandan government were “sufficient to ensure that there is no real risk that asylum seekers falling under the Rwanda policies will be unfairly returned to countries where they face persecution or other inhumane treatment.”
He concluded that the chance that asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal remedies are sent back to their country of origin is small, not least because Rwanda has no agreements with any of the countries in question.
“Moreover, extensive monitoring arrangements, formal and informal, of all those sent to Rwanda and their asylum applications once there provide strong protection,” he said.
“The arrangements put in place provide sufficient safeguards in a context where both governments will be determined to make the agreement work and it will.”
Ministers believe the policy will act as a deterrent to migrants crossing the Channel, the number of which has passed 11,000 so far this year. They are only seven percent lower than last year, when a record 45,755 was passed.
However, they have faced fierce opposition from the UNHCR, who testified before the appeals court, asylum charities, opposition MPs and the Lords, who inflicted four defeats on the government over its illegal migration law on Wednesday night.
‘When the migrants arrive, we will welcome them’
Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said she “questioned” the ruling.
“Rwanda is one of the safest countries in the world and we have been recognized by the UNHCR and other international institutions for our exemplary treatment of refugees,” she said.
“Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership a success. The broken global migration system is failing to protect the vulnerable and empower criminal smuggling gangs at an immeasurable human cost.
“When the migrants arrive, we will welcome them and give them the support they need to start a new life in Rwanda”
Rwanda has begun building around 40,000 permanent homes, some of which will house migrants removed from the UK.
It has also trained immigration officers to handle their asylum applications as part of the UK’s £140 million funding package.
Ministers of both countries have said the scheme is unlimited.