Panel to review UK-Rwanda asylum regime as judicial review begins

The British and Rwandan governments have set up an eight-member panel to review plans to send asylum seekers from the United Kingdom (UK) to Rwanda, as a judicial review of the plan has began on Monday before the High Court in London.

The scheme has sparked controversy since it was announced in April by the British government that “anyone entering the UK illegally” after January 1 this year would be sent to Rwanda, where they would seek asylum, in in a deal worth £120m. to the Rwandan government.

Since then, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), officials from the UK Home Office, which oversees immigration and asylum, and more than 160 human rights groups man and campaign adamantly opposed the deal.

After legal challenges in London courts, the first flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda on June 14 was cancelled.

Today, the independent panel was tasked “to review and report on the delivery of the [plan]including overseeing end-to-end UK operations in Rwanda”.

Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Vincent Biruta, said his country looked forward to working with the UK on the “partnership” that would “provide a safe and secure home for people seeking protection. , as well as a chance for migrants to live, work and develop alongside Rwandans.

He added: “The members of the Monitoring Committee are experienced and highly committed individuals who will ensure that the program is implemented to high standards and becomes a lasting solution to the global imbalance of human capital opportunities, a major factor that leads to irregular and dangerous movements. migration.”

One of the groups challenging the “damaging” policy, UK-based Medical Justice, said those to be deported had been victims of torture and trafficking, “which is already paying a high human cost even before the flights have taken off in Rwanda”.

Its report, The Human Cost of the Rwanda Scheme, released over the weekend, said: “Our clinicians have described the severe impact of the threat of deportation to Rwanda on mental health.

“Experiences of intense fear, anxiety about the future, profound loss of hope, and traumatic reminders of past experiences of helplessness rob people of the sense of security necessary for careful assessment and recovery.

“These experiences would generally be harmful, but are made even more acute by the fact that they are lived within the framework of immigration detention and by a population with a high rate of vulnerability,” the report adds.

Dr Rachel Bingham, Clinical Adviser for Medical Justice, said the organization called for “the immediate and urgent release from indefinite immigration detention of all those subject to deportation to Rwanda, and away from politics”.

She added: Failure to do so, given the medical evidence, means the harm the government is inflicting is premeditated.

Source: GNA