Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“It will be in complete compliance with international law” 

James Cleverly, Home Secretary, House of Commons

Facts

Home Secretary James Cleverly told the House of Commons in January 2024 that the Rwanda bill “as drafted …  will be in complete compliance with international law.”

In April 2022, the UK announced a new immigration policy aimed at reducing asylum seekers. This policy would force some individuals arriving in the UK without proper documentation to be sent to Rwanda for their asylum claims to be processed.

In June 2022 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) blocked the first flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

In December 2022 the UK High Court ruled the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda to be lawful. In June 2023 the UK Court of Appeal overturned the High Court ruling, saying the policy leaves people sent to Rwanda open to human rights breaches.

On 15 November 2023 the UK Supreme Court unanimously upheld the Court of Appeal ruling finding the policy unlawful.

On 15 January 2024 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said “UNHCR has not observed changes in the practice of asylum adjudication that would overcome the concerns set out in its 2022 analysis and in the detailed evidence presented to the Supreme Court.”

In the same report the UNHCR summarised that the Rwanda bill was still “not compatible” with international refugee law.

Verdict

The government’s Rwanda bill has been accused of putting asylum seekers at risk and according to the United Nations is  “not compatible” with international refugee law. 

We emailed James Cleverly’s office offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. We also emailed the Home Office with our analysis, they responded “I’m afraid we can only respond to media outlets, so this wouldn’t be one for us.”

Published 28 Jun 2024
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