THE High Court has ruled that the UK Government's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is lawful.

In April, the Tory government struck a deal with the east African country to send thousands of migrants more than 4000 miles away if they arrive in the UK "illegally".

It comes shortly after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced further restrictions on migrants coming to the UK - including immediate refusal for any who are forced to cross the Channel and using abandoned holiday parks and student halls for housing as opposed to hotels. 

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The first deportation flight – due to take off on June 14 – was grounded amid a series of challenges against individual removals and the policy as a whole.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said following the ruling that she is "committed" to making the deal with Rwanda work, while Sunak welcomed the ruling. 

Two judges at the Royal Courts of Justice have now given their rulings on the legal bids against the policy.

Judges Clive Lewis and Jonathan Swift said that while the Rwanda policy has been the subject of "considerable public debate", the court could only rule on the policy's legality.

The judgment summary reads: "The court has concluded that it is lawful for the government to make arrangements for relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda and for their asylum claims to be determined in Rwanda rather than in the United Kingdom.

"On the evidence before this court, the government has made arrangements with the government of Rwanda which are intended to ensure that the asylum claims of people relocated to Rwanda are properly determined in Rwanda.

"In those circumstances, the relocation of asylum seekers to Rwanda is consistent with the Refugee Convention and with the statutory and other legal obligations on the government including the obligations imposed by the Human Rights Act 1998."

However, the judges warned that Braverman must "consider properly the circumstances of each individual claimant".

They continued: "The Home Secretary must decide if there is anything about each person’s particular circumstances which means that his asylum claim should be determined in the United Kingdom or whether there are other reasons why he should not be relocated to Rwanda.

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"The Home Secretary has not properly considered the circumstances of the eight individual claimants whose cases we have considered. For that reason, the decisions in those cases will be set aside and their cases will be referred back to the Home Secretary for her to consider afresh."

It is likely that Monday’s decision will be appealed against.

Clare Moseley, the founder of refugee charity Care4Calais, said that she was "disappointed" by the ruling and is "discussing next steps with our legal team".

She said: "We remain steadfast in our opposition to the Rwanda policy and in our determination to ensure that no refugee is forcibly deported. This is the first court to consider the lawfulness of the UK-Rwanda deal. We will consider our position in respect of the Court of Appeal.

The National: Former home secretary Priti Patel signed the deal with Rwanda Former home secretary Priti Patel signed the deal with Rwanda

“We are relieved for the individual claimants whom the court has ruled should not be removed to Rwanda.

“However, there are potentially thousands more people seeking asylum in the UK who are, right now and in the future, potentially facing the threat of removal to Rwanda under this cruel and unworkable policy. It is for all of them that we made this challenge and for them we must continue to pursue it."

Robina Qureshi, CEO of Scots charity Positive Action in Housing (PAIH), told The National: "I think the High Court decision shows scantless disregard for the human rights of refugees, the Refugee Convention, but also it's very clear that it's heading in the same [far right] direction as the current UK Home Secretary and her dream of flying people to Rwanda.

"It doesn't make it right, it doesn’t make it lawful and yes, it deserves to be vigorously and thoroughly challenged."

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Sonya Sceats, chief executive at Freedom from Torture, said the charity was “concerned that today’s decision fails to recognise the serious risks that the Rwanda removals policy presents for survivors of torture.”

The Scottish Government said it remains opposed to the Rwanda deal despite the ruling, adding: “The UK Government must explain how it will ensure the welfare of people who may be extremely vulnerable in any arrangement to transfer or relocate people seeking asylum.

"They must also be transparent about the full costs of this arrangement and explain how this can be more financially efficient than investing in improving the UK asylum system to appropriately support the people who are here.”  

Alison Thewliss MP, SNP home affairs spokesperson, said: “Whether legal or not, this move is deeply immoral and will only serve to endanger those the UK government has a duty to protect.

“Those fleeing war, famine and oppression deserve and need our full support, instead the Tories have chosen to make scapegoats of desperate people in a disgusting attempt to cover up their own domestic policy failings.

“Countries like the UK should act as a beacon of hope and serve as a positive example to the rest of the world. Sadly that is no longer how the UK is viewed, and so it falls upon an independent Scotland to show a just and humanitarian welcome to whoever needs it, whenever they need it.”

The National: The court said Braverman had not 'considered' the cases of eight migrants heard in the case properlyThe court said Braverman had not 'considered' the cases of eight migrants heard in the case properly (Image: PA)

The SNP's BAME group also criticised the ruling as "hostile", writing on Twitter: "These people have had to flee their own country in order to save their lives.

"When faced with persecution, imprisonment and possibly death. This ruling is pleasant music to the racist Tory government."

Ross Greer MSP, Scottish Greens' external affairs spokesperson, said: “This shocking ruling will have a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable people. If it is upheld on appeal, it will give a greenlight to the most racist and brutal instincts of the UK Home Office."

Alistair Carmichael, LibDem home affairs spokesperson, said that whether or not the plan is lawful, it is "immoral, ineffective and incredibly costly to tax payers". 

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Following the ruling, Braverman said: “Our ground-breaking migration partnership with Rwanda will provide individuals relocated with support to build new lives there, while disrupting the business model of people smuggling gangs putting lives at risk through dangerous and illegal small boat crossings.

“We have always maintained that this policy is lawful and today the court has upheld this.

“I am committed to making this partnership work – my focus remains on moving ahead with the policy as soon as possible and we stand ready to defend against any further legal challenge.”

The PM, speaking in Riga, told broadcasters: “Well, I welcome the decision of the court today. We’ve always maintained that our Rwanda policy is lawful, and I’m pleased that was confirmed today and this is just one part of our plan to tackle illegal migration."