Motion A

Part of Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - Commons Reason – in the House of Lords at 11:45 pm on 22 April 2024.

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Photo of Lord Sharpe of Epsom Lord Sharpe of Epsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 11:45, 22 April 2024

My Lords, this Bill has now been scrutinised a number of times. The Government have rejected this amendment several times, so we must now accept the will of the elected House, bring the debate on this last amendment to an end and get this Bill on to the statute book. Having now debated this issue on so many occasions, I will not repeat the same arguments but reiterate a few key points. The Bill’s provisions come into force when the treaty enters into force, which is when the parties have completed their internal procedures. We will ratify the treaty in the UK only once we agree with Rwanda that all necessary implementation is in place for both countries to comply with the obligations under the treaty.

I have set out the steps that have been taken to be ready for the treaty to be ratified, and I will remind noble Lords once again of the most recent step. Last Friday, 19 April, the Rwandan Parliament passed its domestic legislation to implement the new asylum system. Rwanda has a proven track record of working constructively with domestic and international partners, including the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration and other non-government organisations to process and support asylum seekers and the refugee population. As I have already set out this evening, the Government are satisfied that Rwanda is safe and has the right mechanisms in place should a situation ever arise that would change that view. The Government will respond as necessary, and this will include a range of options to respond to the circumstances, including any primary legislation if required.

The monitoring committee will undertake daily monitoring of the partnership for at least the first three months to ensure rapid identification of, and response to, any issues. This enhanced phase will ensure that comprehensive monitoring and reporting take place in real time. During the period of enhanced monitoring, the monitoring committee will report to the joint committee in accordance with an agreed action plan to include weekly and biweekly reporting, as required. The implementation of these provisions in practice will be kept under review by the independent monitoring committee, whose role was enhanced by the treaty, which will ensure compliance. I beg to move.