European Rights Body Urges UK to Halt Rwanda Asylum Plan Over Abuse Risk

European Rights Body Urges UK to Halt Rwanda Asylum Plan Over Abuse Risk

LONDON – The Council of Europe’s anti-torture watchdog has called on the UK government to stop sending asylum seekers to Rwanda and process claims in Britain instead. In a report on Thursday, the committee warned of human rights abuse risks in Rwanda.

The report raises multiple concerns about the Rwanda policy under the UK’s Illegal Migration Act. It states that vulnerable persons may face torture or inhuman treatment if deported there. The committee visited the UK in early 2022 when detention expansion plans were announced.

It cautions against using inflammatory language for arrivals after hazardous journeys. The report flags issues like indefinite detention and holding some detainees with criminal records in prisons post-sentence.

The Council notes that the Act removes safeguards and allows child detention and deportation to Rwanda. It urges the UK not to rely on Rwanda’s asylum system given risks of rights violations.

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The European Court of Human Rights relies on the committee’s findings in relevant cases. In 2022, the ECHR had intervened to halt the UK’s first Rwanda deportation flight over human rights concerns.

UK officials have rejected the report’s conclusions as inaccurate. But rights groups demand the Rwanda policy be abandoned based on evidence of abuse risks. The UK Supreme Court has also ruled the scheme is unlawful.

With detention expansion plans underway, the report increases pressure on the UK government over its hardline asylum policies. Critics argue ending long-term detention and risky Rwanda transfers is vital to uphold Britain’s human rights commitments.

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