BREAKING: Rwanda flights ruled UNLAWFUL by Court of Appeal

The government’s contentious hallmark programme of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda has been halted, with senior judges ruling that the African country is “not safe.”

As part of the ‘Stop the Boats’ policy on immigration, the Home Office devised plans to present asylum applicants with a one-way ticket to Rwanda.

Individual asylum seekers and the organisation Asylum Aid filed legal challenges to the policy in December, but High Court justices dismissed them.

However, in a landmark decision on Thursday, the Court of Appeal found by a two-to-one margin that the programme would endanger asylum seekers and is therefore illegal.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett of Maldon, sitting with Sir Geoffrey Vos and Lord Justice Underhill, delivered the decision, saying: “By a majority, the court allows the appeal on the issues of whether Rwanda is a safe third country.”

The Lord Chief Justice expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision, but was overruled by the other two judges, who concluded that “the deficiencies in Rwanda’s asylum system are such that there are substantial grounds for believing that persons sent to Rwanda will be returned to their home countries where they faced persecution or other inhumane treatment, when, in fact, they have a good claim for asylum.”

“In that sense Rwanda is not a ‘safe third country’.”

The Lord Chief Justice stated that the other judges feel the Rwandan authorities’ claims concerning safety were not followed through on, but he disagreed and stated that asylum seekers will be protected.

The legal struggle is now anticipated to be heard by the Supreme Court, which will rule on the legitimacy of the government’s policy.

Since the Rwanda policy was announced last Spring, the government has faced harsh criticism, owing to concerns over the country’s human rights record.

According to Home Office data, the government might spend £169,000 on each asylum applicant forcefully relocated to a third country, such as Rwanda.

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