Belfast Agreement: Human Rights

Home Office written question – answered at on 16 February 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill does not undermine their commitments under the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.

Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill does not undermine the UK's duty to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into the law of Northern Ireland, including facilitating both (1) direct access to the courts, and (2) remedies for breaches of the Convention.

Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill conforms with the requirements of Article 2 of the Windsor Framework.

Photo of Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Baroness Ritchie of Downpatrick Non-affiliated

To ask His Majesty's Government when they will publish the explanatory memorandum on the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill’s compliance with Article 2 of the Windsor Framework.

Photo of Lord Sharpe of Epsom Lord Sharpe of Epsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill will apply in full in Northern Ireland in the same way it does in the rest of the UK. This is set out on the face of the Bill, reflecting that immigration policy is a UK-wide matter. There is nothing in the Windsor Framework that affects that. The Bill does not engage the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, including the rights chapter – those rights seek to address longstanding and specific issues relating to Northern Ireland’s past and do not extend to matters engaged by the bill. The Government remains fully committed to that Agreement in all its parts.

I have written to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson in relation to this. The letter will be published in the House Library in due course.

To provide further reassurance on these points, the published factsheet on this Bill has been updated to reflect this: Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill: factsheet - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Bill factsheet (pdf, 266.9KB)

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