Judges at London’s High Court will rule on Monday December 19, whether the UK government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is legal, as the UK government tries to reduce the record number of migrants that arrive into the country in small boats.
After a deal agreed in April, UK aims to send tens of thousands of migrants who arrive on its shores illegally more than 4,000 miles (6,4000 km) to Rwanda.
Under the agreement with Rwanda, anyone judged to have entered Britain illegally is eligible for deportation, with the exception of unaccompanied minors.
The first planned deportation flight was blocked in June by a last-minute injunction from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the lawfulness of the deportation was subsequently challenged by a judicial review at London’s High Court.
A victory for the UK government on Monday will not mean that flights can take off straight away because there may be a further appeal in the British courts as the ECHR injunction imposed during the summer prevents any immediate deportations until the conclusion of legal action in the UK.
In one of his first major policy announcements after taking office, UK PM Rishi Sunak said he will end illegal immigration and said he wanted to restart the flights to Rwanda despite opposition from lawmakers in all the main political parties, the United Nations and even King Charles.
Lawyers acting for asylum seekers from countries including Syria, Sudan, and Iraq, as well as charities and Border Force staff told the High Court in hearings this year that the government’s Rwanda policy was inhumane and does not comply with human rights conventions.
They said that Rwanda, whose own human rights record is under scrutiny, does not have the capacity to process the claims, and there is a risk some migrants could be returned to countries from which they had fled, citing concern raised by government officials themselves.