15 November, 2023 - By West London Welcome

Relief the Supreme Court have found the Rwanda Plan unlawful

Our community at West London Welcome is filled with relief and joy today at the unanimous Supreme Court decision that the UK Government’s Rwanda plan is unlawful.

Today’s decision provides the Government with an opportunity to take a new path on asylum policy. The Supreme Court is clear: those seeking asylum must have their rights protected. We call on the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to start anew, reverse their hostile environment and create humane policies that enable people seeking sanctuary to experience a just, functioning asylum system.

For those seeking asylum in West London, the hostile environment in its many forms continues, but today they are breathing relief after months of uncertainty and anxiety around the Rwanda plan. Since last year we have practically and emotionally supported a number of our asylum-seeking community members after they received letters from the Home Office suggesting they could be removed to another country, such as Rwanda, to have their asylum claims considered there instead. The Rwanda plan has caused nothing but fear amongst the people we support, cost the UK millions, and put huge pressure on legal aid lawyers and frontline NGOs like ourselves to navigate and support people through an uncertain legal situation.

We know the Government will still try to press on with the Rwanda plan regardless of today’s ruling. The Government has been trying to fully implement its Illegal Migration Act, which seeks to prevent those entering the UK via informal means, such as by small boat, from applying for asylum here, and send people to ‘safe third countries’ to have their asylum claims processed. Rwanda was supposed to be this ‘safe third country’, yet given the Supreme Court’s decision, it’s difficult to understand how the Illegal Migration Act can now be fully implemented.

The Rwanda Plan and Illegal Migration Act must be scrapped in their entirety, and if this Government truly want to ‘stop the boats’, they must urgently create safe routes to the UK in order that people do not need to risk their lives to find safety and live in dignity.