AVID Training
(You need to be a member and logged in to view this video)

We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Rwanda Plan. The implementation of the plan would have placed asylum seekers and displaced people in real danger of unfair assessment of their asylum cases, refoulement, and other human rights violations. In solidarity with numerous members of our community, we are heartened to learn that people seeking sanctuary and displaced people, some of the world's most vulnerable populations, will not face a callous deportation to a third country.

During the hearing, we heard compelling evidence, including the shocking shootings of Congolese refugees by Rwandan Police resulting in 13 deaths in 2018, proving that there are substantial grounds for believing asylum seekers sent to Rwanda would face a genuine risk of refoulement. We strongly condemn the government for initiating the Rwanda Plan, with full knowledge that its policy would essentially trade human lives as commodities without any regard to their wellbeing, and its political agenda would come at the unbearable expense of people seeking sanctuary and displaced people’s freedom, safety, and dignity.

While we are relieved with the Supreme Court’s verdict today, we remain vigilant about what may come next. Despite the court's dismissal of Rwanda as a safe third country, it did not challenge the legality of sending people seeking sanctuary to such destinations. In other words, the present and future governments may strike similar deals with other nations and have them deemed lawful. This opens the door to a disturbing shift toward asylum externalization, not only within the UK but with potential global implications. It suggests a trend where nations such as UK, may avoid international obligations to refugee protection. This dangerous trajectory, enabling Global North to delegate their unwanted responsibilities to Global South and making them the sweatshops of our asylum mechanism, warrants our deepest concerns. This poses a risk to the core values of providing refuge, developed globally post-WWII.

This victory sheds light on the questionable rationale behind the expansions of detention centers like Haslar and Campsfield. While the government initially justified reopening these centers by claiming they would detain individuals destined for Rwanda flights, the current ruling has rendered that rationale obsolete. We shall also not forget that the so called ‘Illegal Migration Act’ was first crafted to compliment the Rwanda Plan, which distinguishes people based on their mode of arrival, exploiting an arbitrary division between regular and irregular arrivals to legitimize immigration detention and deportation as routine measures. Prolonged immigration detention without a possible future in the UK is what awaits people reaching our shores. While the Rwanda Plan's success was a pivotal element of the Illegal Migration Act, our concern extends to other ‘safe’ country agreements that have been added by the Illegal Migration Act (under Section 80AA list of ‘safe’ countries), such as India and Georgia.

Nevertheless, this is a tremendous victory for the sector, and we are proud to be amongst such inspiring organisations, not least our members who provide vital support to people detained on a daily basis. Our work cannot stop here. We are far from the point where we can rejoice in the immediate, humane, and comprehensive protection of refugees. We persist in standing in unwavering solidarity with people in detention, and we invite you to join us.

Watch: Hidden Stories
Share this page