Amendment 19

Part of Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - Committee (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 14 February 2024.

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Photo of Lord Stewart of Dirleton Lord Stewart of Dirleton The Advocate-General for Scotland 3:15, 14 February 2024

My Lords, as I said to the noble Lord, this matter is to be dealt with in further groupings. In the interests of saving the Committee’s time, I will revert to consideration of the points raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Lister of Burtersett.

The treaty which the United Kingdom has agreed with Rwanda makes express provision for the treatment of relocated individuals, demonstrating the commitment of both parties to upholding fundamental human rights and freedoms without discrimination and in line with both our domestic and international obligations. Rwanda’s obligations under these international agreements are embedded too in its domestic legal provisions.

The High Court found that it was generally safe for individuals relocated under the MEDP to be in Rwanda. In view of its finding on the issue of refoulement, the Supreme Court found it unnecessary to decide the question of whether individuals were generally at risk of ill treatment in Rwanda. The Court of Appeal likewise did not reach a conclusion on this point. This means that the ruling of the High Court on the point of general safety remains undisturbed.

The treaty guarantees that anyone relocated to Rwanda will be given safety and support and will not be returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened. This directly addresses the court’s conclusions about the risk of refoulement. Rwanda shares our concern to find ways to end the global illegal migration crisis. The treaty enhances the role of the monitoring committee which will ensure that obligations under the treaty are adhered to in practice. It will provide real-time comprehensive monitoring of the end-to-end relocation and asylum process, ensuring delivery against the terms of the agreement and in line with both countries’ obligations.

I remind the Committee of aspects of Rwanda and its strong track record for supporting asylum seekers. It is currently hosting more than 135,000 migrants who have found sanctuary there. It is a state party to the 1951 United Nations convention on refugees and to the seven core UN human rights conventions. In those circumstances, I submit that the concerns which the noble Baroness raises can be taken as having been dealt with.