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Evidence to the House of Lords International Agreements Committee on the UK-Rwanda Memorandum of Understanding

Kamena Dorling
Kat Hacker, Alison Pickup

The Secretary of State signed the ‘Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership arrangement’ (MoU) on 13 April 2022, the objective of which was “to create a mechanism for the relocation of asylum seekers whose claims are not being considered by the United Kingdom, to Rwanda”. The MoU sets out the ‘commitments’ made by the UK to Rwanda (and vice versa) in relation to, among other things, reception arrangements, asylum processing arrangements, and the treatment post asylum decision of those sent by the UK to Rwanda.

In its evidence to the House of Lords International Agreements Committee, Asylum Aid and HBF set out concerns with the MoU, its lack of upholdable assurances and safeguards, and the ways in which the is MoU consistent with the UK’s obligations under international law under the 1951 Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. 

Asylum Aid and HBF have serious concerns about the plans to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda and the legality and fairness of the procedure adopted by the UK Home Office for deciding whom to send. Asylum Aid has brought judicial review proceedings against the Home Office as a result of these concerns. Its claim is due to be heard in the High Court on 10-11 October 2022.