Charity calls on UK to formally confirm end of Rwanda deportation policy

By Sam Tobin

LONDON (Reuters) -A British charity which opposed the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda called on Britain’s new government to formally withdraw the policy, as its legal challenge continues despite new Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s pledge to scrap the idea.

Starmer said on Saturday that the Rwanda plan, first announced by the previous Conservative government in 2022, was “dead and buried” in his first major policy announcement since winning a landslide election victory.

Three asylum seekers facing removal to Rwanda dropped their legal challenges to the policy at London’s High Court on Tuesday, after government lawyers said they would not be sent to Africa and their asylum claims would be processed instead.

However, a separate legal challenge by charity Asylum Aid will go on.

Lawyers representing Britain’s Home Office had said in court documents that there was “no prospect of removal to Rwanda for the foreseeable future”, but that the new government needed time to fully develop its asylum policy.

“Asylum Aid is surprised that it is necessary to keep their proceedings alive given that the prime minister said that the Rwanda policy is ‘dead and buried’,” the charity’s lawyer Charlotte Kilroy said in court.

“But, in the light of the fact that the Home Secretary wishes to have time to consider whether that is in fact the case, this pragmatic compromise has been reached.”

Asylum Aid said in a statement: “The Home Secretary should now urgently confirm that there will be no flights ever, withdraw the policy and all Rwanda notices of intent.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “As we have made clear, no future removals to Rwanda will be scheduled. The court hearing scheduled for this week has now concluded.”

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; editing by Michael Holden and William James)


Close Bitnami banner