Torture prevention experts condemn British migrant plan in Rwanda as ‘humiliating’ and illegal

Torture prevention experts condemn British migrant plan in Rwanda as ‘humiliating’ and illegal

Torture prevention experts condemn British migrant plan in Rwanda as ‘humiliating’ and illegal

Torture prevention experts have condemned the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, claiming the settlement is “inherently degrading” and violates international human rights law.

Three days before the Supreme Court hears the first legal charge against the policy, leading academics, including two former chairs of the UN Subcommittee on Torture Prevention, warned that the trial is “inherently incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention”.

In a letter sent by the University of Bristol’s Human Rights Implementation Center to Home Secretary Priti Patel, they also said “the rushed initial assessment process” before the deportation would add to the trauma of those involved.

In April, the interior minister signed what she described as a “world’s first agreement” with Rwanda in an effort to deter migrants from crossing the Channel.

But the first deportation flight — which was scheduled to depart on June 14 — was grounded amid legal difficulties.

Ms Patel reportedly does not expect to keep her job under the next prime minister, but both candidates for Tory leadership have expressed support for Rwanda’s policy.

Among a series of attacks on the policy, the letter says it is punitive and “discriminates against individuals on the basis of how they arrive in the UK to apply for asylum”.

“We believe that the punitive and discriminatory basis of the procedure, and the way it is applied, causes significant harm to the mental well-being of those at risk of removal.

“It fundamentally does not provide them with any special protection and poses a significant risk of re-traumatization of victims of human rights abuses, including torture and sexual violence.”

Priti Patel and Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Vincent Biruta signed a partnership for migration and economic development in Kigali in April

(PA wire)

Sonya Sceats, chief executive at Freedom from Torture, said: “This brutal plan not only risks destroying the UK’s international legal duty to protect refugees, it is immoral to the extreme.

“Every day in our therapy rooms we see the existential fear that the Rwanda deal has instilled in the torture survivors we treat.”

“As our testimony to the Supreme Court provided ahead of Monday’s judicial review notes, Rwanda’s policies will expose torture survivors to further harm,” she said.

She called on the government to scrap the “inhumane money for people” plan.

The Home Secretary said: “We anticipated legal challenges for this innovative plan and will vigorously defend the partnership for migration and economic development in the courts.

“I am proud to work with the Rwandan government on our industry-leading partnership that will ensure those arriving to the UK via dangerous, illegal and unnecessary routes are considered for relocation to Rwanda where their cases will be considered .

“Rwanda remains a safe country with a strong track record of supporting asylum seekers.

“Those behind these legal challenges have unfortunately delayed the implementation of our partnership and have so far only been able to help the people smuggling gangs over the summer, which has resulted in more people boarding flimsy vessels and their lives in the Endangered Channel.

“The sooner we can implement this new policy, the sooner we can break the business model of the malicious smugglers and prevent further loss of life in the Channel.”

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