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UK’s Rwanda plan incompatible with rights obligations: lawmakers

LONDON (AFP) – The United Kingdom (UK) government’s latest legislation to revive its controversial plan to send migrants to Rwanda is “not compatible” with the country’s rights obligations, a watchdog panel of British lawmakers warned yesterday.

The ruling Conservatives introduced the so-called Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill late last year, shortly after the Supreme Court ruled that deporting asylum seekers to Kigali is illegal under international law.

If passed after ongoing scrutiny in both Houses of Parliament, the legislation would compel UK judges to treat Rwanda as a safe third country.

It would also give government ministers powers to disregard sections of international and British human rights legislation.

But after a detailed review, parliament’s own Joint Committee on Human Rights said in a new report that it had various concerns.

“By denying access to a court to challenge the safety of Rwanda the Bill is not compatible with the UK’s international obligations,” the committee concluded in its 52-page report.

It noted the proposed law appeared incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, in particular, as well as domestic rights law.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. PHOTO: AFP