Statement: Supreme Court finds that plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful

The Scottish Human Rights Commission welcomes the decision from the UK Supreme Court that the UK Government’s policy of removing asylum seekers to Rwanda to have their claims processed is unlawful.

The Court has found the UK Government’s Rwanda plan does not safeguard the rights of asylum seekers, as there is evidence to suggest asylum claims will not be determined properly in Rwanda.

This places asylum seekers at risk of being returned to their countries of origin, where they may face torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  

The judgment is based on a principle known as ‘non-refoulement’ in international law. It is grounded in a number of international conventions to which the UK is party, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Refugee Convention, the UN Convention Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The UK Government should now reflect on how this judgment relates to its wider immigration policy, particularly the Illegal Migration Act, which amounts to an almost total ban on asylum and puts the UK in clear breach of its obligations under international human rights and refugee law.

The UK Government must offer safe and legal routes for those seeking asylum in the UK, including Scotland, and must implement a fair and dignified support system for those who come to the UK seeking protection.