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UK’s Cleverly to sign new asylum treaty with Rwanda

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British Interior Minister James Cleverly will sign a new treaty with Rwanda today over its asylum plan after the UK’s top court declared the deportation scheme unlawful, the British Home Office said yesterday.

Cleverly will arrive in Rwanda’s capital Kigali this morning and meet with the country’s Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta to sign the treaty. Britain had intended to send tens of thousands of asylum seekers who arrived on its shores without permission to Rwanda in a bid to deter migrants crossing the Channel from Europe in small boats.

The plan has been closely watched by other countries considering similar policies. The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court last month ruled the flights to Rwanda would violate international human rights laws enshrined in domestic legislation.

Since then, Britain has been seeking to renegotiate its agreement with Rwanda to include a binding treaty that would not expel asylum seekers sent there by Britain – one of the court’s major concerns.

The court ruled the Rwanda policy unlawful, citing a risk that deported refugees would have their claims wrongly assessed or that they would be returned to their country of origin to face persecution.

The court said the plan breached international treaties and protocols, including the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Refugee Convention and Convention against Torture.

“Rwanda cares deeply about the rights of refugees, and I look forward to meeting with counterparts to sign this agreement and further discuss how we work together to tackle the global challenge of illegal migration,” Cleverly said.

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