LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful, delivering a major blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to stop people arriving in small boats.
Below is reaction:
PRIME MINISTER RISHI SUNAK
“We have seen today’s judgment and will now consider next steps. This was not the outcome we wanted, but we have spent the last few months planning for all eventualities and we remain completely committed to stopping the boats.
“Crucially, the Supreme Court – like the Court of Appeal and the High Court before it – has confirmed that the principle of sending illegal migrants to a safe third country for processing is lawful. This confirms the government’s clear view from the outset.
“Illegal migration destroys lives and costs British taxpayers millions of pounds a year. We need to end it and we will do whatever it takes to do so.”
“This is ultimately a decision for the UK’s judicial system. However, we take issue with the ruling that Rwanda is not a safe third country for asylum seekers and refugees in terms of refoulement,” said Yolande Makolo, a spokeswoman for the Rwandan government.
“Rwanda and the UK have been working together to ensure integration of relocated asylum seekers into Rwandan society. Rwanda is committed to its international obligations. We have been recognized by the UNHCR & other international institutions for our exemplary treatment of refugees.”
LONDON’S MAYOR SADIQ KHAN
“The government’s Rwanda policy isn’t just cruel, callous and morally reprehensible — the Supreme Court has confirmed it’s unlawful too. The fact the government came up with the idea of sending people fleeing violence and persecution to a country thousands of miles away is shameful.”
SCOTLAND’S LEADER HUMZA YOUSAF
“Not only is the UK government’s policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda morally repugnant, but it has now been confirmed as unlawful too. The policy must be scrapped. We need a humane system that doesn’t leave asylum seekers stuck in destitution for years without the right to work.”
REFUGEE CHARITY CARE4CALAIS CEO STEVE SMITH
“Today’s judgement should bring this shameful mark on the UK’s history to a close. Never again should our government seek to shirk our country’s responsibility to offer sanctuary to those caught up in horrors around the world.”
(Reporting by UK bureau and Reporting by Philbert Girinema in Kigali; Editing by Kate Holton)