Rwanda hits back: Furious African nation blasts Supreme Court's swipe at country

Supreme Court judge

Rwanda criticised the Supreme Court for swiping at its human rights record

Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 15/11/2023

- 12:33

Updated: 15/11/2023

- 13:12

The Supreme Court said that Rwanda was not a safe third country for asylum seekers

The Rwandan Government has hit back at the Supreme Court after it ruled the UK's plan to send asylum seekers to the African country was illegal.

Judges sat on the Supreme Court were unanimous that that country was not a safe third country for illegal migrants to be sent to.

The High Court and Court of Appeal had already ruled the Rwanda policy was unlawful but was challenged by the Government.

Supreme Court president Lord Reed ruled there would be a risk of Rwanda returning genuine asylum seekers to face “ill treatment” in the country they had fled.

Giving their reaction a Rwandan government spokesman said: “This is ultimately a decision for the UK’s judicial system.

“However, we do take issue with the ruling that Rwanda is not a safe third country for asylum seekers and refugees, in terms of refoulement.

“Rwanda and the UK have been working together to ensure the integration of relocated asylum seekers into Rwandan society.

“Rwanda is committed to its international obligations and we have been recognised by the UNHCR and other international institutions for our exemplary treatment of refugees.

“Throughout this legal process we’ve been busy continuing to deliver progress for Rwandans and working together with international partners to solve some of the biggest challenges that Africa and the wider world face.

“We take our humanitarian responsibilities seriously and will continue to live up to them.”

Ministers have repeatedly stood up for Rwanda's record on human rights in the face of criticism from opposition MPs and activists.

When making its argument in court, the Government's KC, Sir James Eadie, said Rwanda was “a country less attractive” than the UK, “but nevertheless safe.

He said it was wrong for the courts to "make the predictive assessment of the future conduct of Rwanda".

Eadie added: "We are the experts of these arrangements and how we can expect Rwanda to behave in the future."

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