Rwanda Bill 'Undermines Human Rights', Warns UK's Human-Rights Watchdog

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) slams Rishi Sunak's flagship legislation as Lords debate bill.
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Rishi Sunak’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda “undermines the universality of human rights”, the Britain’s human-rights watchdog has warned.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill said human rights must be “guaranteed for all”.

The prime minister’s flagship piece of legislation faces its first big test in the Lords today as peers will debate the bill.

Sunak has made passing the new law key to his hopes of convincing voters ahead of this year’s general election he can “stop the boats”.

Previous attempts to send people seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda were blocked as the courts agreed it was not a safe place for them to be sent.

The government hopes once the bill passes flights will be able to take off by the spring.

In a statement ahead of the debate on Monday, the EHRC told peers: “Human rights are universal and must be guaranteed for all.

“The Human Rights Act (HRA) has significantly improved human rights protections for everyone in the UK, but the Safety of Rwanda Bill undermines the universality of human rights by disapplying core provisions of the HRA.

“On the face of the Bill, the home secretary was unable to confirm that it complies with the European Convention on Human Rights.

“By disapplying sections of the HRA and seeking to prevent courts from considering the risk of refoulement, this Bill could expose people to harm and breaches of their right to life, their rights to be free from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and their right to effective remedy.”

The issue of “refoulement” was central to the decision by courts to rule the previous attempts unlawful.

It means the concern asylum seekers sent from the UK to Rwanda would then be sent by Rwanda back to the country they had initially fled.

Downing Street said: “This Bill is a key part of how we stop violent criminal gangs targeting vulnerable people, that has led to too many deaths in the English Channel.”


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