Rwanda Bill: An Attack on Fundamental Rights
December 8, 2023
The UK government this week introduced the ‘Safety of Rwanda Bill’ to limit the use of human rights laws to challenge their attempts to automatically remove asylum seekers to Rwanda. The Human Rights Consortium has criticized the introduction of the Bill as a violation of basic human rights guarantees of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, the Windsor Framework and International agreements like the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement.
The “Safety of Rwanda Bill” seems designed to circumvent any form of legitimate scrutiny or challenge on human rights grounds to the policy of automatic removal of asylum seekers to Rwanda. It requires that the courts ignore sections of the Human Rights Act and also gives Government Ministers the power to ignore interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights.
These proposals, if enacted, would represent a violation of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement by effectively limiting access to the Human Rights Act (HRA) for those seeking refuge in Northern Ireland. They also represent a violation of the Article 2 commitments of the Windsor Framework by undermining the commitment to the non-diminution of rights contained within the ‘Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity’ section of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement – a section which explicitly guaranteed our access to the rights protected in the Human Rights Act.
This Bill, as well as the Illegal Migration and Nationality and Borders Acts which preceded it, violate domestic and international law irrespective of any legislative gymnastics the Government conducts to avoid their obligations. It continues a troubling pattern of disregard for these human rights standards as well as for the principle of ‘no diminution of rights in Northern Ireland’ as a result of Brexit, which the Government agreed to and reaffirmed earlier this year.”
A more detailed briefing by the Consortium on the human right impacts in Northern Ireland of the proposed legislation is available to download below.Tags: Human Rights, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, Windsor Framework