UK premier's flagship Rwanda plan suffers another defeat in House of Lords

Upper House passes number of amendments that would make it harder for House of Commons to declare Rwanda a 'safe' country

11:08 - 5/03/2024 الثلاثاء
Update: 11:08 - 5/03/2024 الثلاثاء
File photo
File photo

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak suffered another setback Monday as the House of Lords passed five amendments on his new Rwanda bill.

The amendments, if ratified, would make it harder for the House of Commons to declare Rwanda a "safe" country and would require the government to comply with domestic and international law.

If enacted into law, the amendments would severely affect the main purpose of the new bill as the demanded changes would make it easier for judges to challenge it.

In early January, most British lawmakers voted to back the controversial bill, which would allow the government to send asylum seekers to the East African country.

In a major setback, however, the House of Lords voted to delay Sunak's flagship UK-Rwanda immigration treaty in what was reportedly the first time it has voted against the ratification of a treaty for over a decade.

The cross-party committee said safeguards in the treaty are "incomplete" and must be implemented before it can be endorsed.

The bill aims to address the concerns of the UK Supreme Court, which ruled that the government's original plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful.

The bill compels judges to regard Rwanda as a safe country and gives ministers the power to disregard parts of the Human Rights Act.

The Rwanda plan had been one of the most controversial plans of the government's migration policy as it sparked international criticism and mass protests across the UK.

In January last year, Sunak said that tackling small boat crossings by irregular migrants across the English Channel was among five priorities of his government as more than 45,000 migrants arrived in the UK that way in 2022.

#asylum seekers
#House of Lords
#Rishi Sunak
#Rwanda Bill
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