CAMPAIGNERS and asylum seekers have won a Court of Appeal challenge over the Government’s planned Rwanda deportation scheme.

In a decision on Thursday, three judges overturned a High Court ruling that previously said the east African nation could be considered a “safe third country”. 

The Scottish Greens have called on Home Secretary Suella Braverman to resign or be sacked as a result. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, meanwhile, said he “fundamentally” disagrees with the Court of Appeal conclusion on the Government’s Rwanda policy and will seek permission to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. 

The Court of Appeal’s decision was announced by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett during a short hearing in London. 

In December last year, two judges at the High Court dismissed a series of legal bids against the plans, finding the Rwanda proposals were consistent with the Government’s legal obligations. 

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However, lawyers for some individual asylum seekers and the charity Asylum Aid brought the successful challenge against their decision at the Court of Appeal. 

At a hearing in April, lawyers for the group of asylum seekers argued that the High Court “showed excessive deference” to the Home Office’s assessment that assurances made by the Rwandan authorities “provide a sufficient guarantee to protect relocated asylum-seekers” from a risk of torture or inhuman treatment. 

Lord Burnett, Sir Geoffrey Vos and Lord Justice Underhill were told that material provided by the Rwandan authorities “lacked credibility, consisting of blanket denials and clear contradictions”. 

Lawyers for the Home Office opposed the appeal, telling the court the Rwandan government has “indicated a clear willingness to co-operate with international monitoring mechanisms” and that there are “reciprocal obligations with strong incentives for compliance”.

Sunak said: “While I respect the court I fundamentally disagree with their conclusions.

“I strongly believe the Rwandan government has provided the assurances necessary to ensure there is no real risk that asylum-seekers relocated under the Rwanda policy would be wrongly returned to third countries – something that the Lord Chief Justice agrees with.

“Rwanda is a safe country. The High Court agreed. The UNHCR have their own refugee scheme for Libyan refugees in Rwanda. We will now seek permission to appeal this decision to the Supreme Court.

“The policy of this government is very simple, it is this country – and your government – who should decide who comes here, not criminal gangs. And I will do whatever is necessary to make that happen.”

Labour said that the Court of Appeal judgment shows that the Government’s plan to stop small boats crossings is “completely unravelling”.

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Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Today’s judgment shows that Rishi Sunak has no plan to fix the Tories’ small boats chaos and his only idea is completely unravelling.

“Ministers were forced to admit this week that it will cost £169,000 to send each person to Rwanda on top of the £140m of taxpayers’ money they have already spent. Now the court has found that ministers didn’t even do the basic work to make sure the scheme was legal or safe.

“Time and again, ministers have gone for gimmicks instead of getting a grip, and slogans instead of solutions, while the Tory boats chaos has got worse. The Rwanda scheme is unworkable, unethical and extortionate, a costly and damaging distraction from the urgent action the government should be taking.

“They should now put that money into Labour’s plan to go after the criminal gangs, clear the asylum backlog and stop dangerous boat crossings that are undermining our border security and putting lives at risk.”

Scottish Greens justice spokesperson Maggie Chapman said: “This tells us everything we need to know about this cruellest of UK governments.

“To deny people who have risked life and limb, women and children among them, even the opportunity to make their case is beyond repugnant.

“Ministers are supposed to be there to write and uphold the laws of the land and to assure the rights of the people. The plan to remove people at their most vulnerable was illegal, immoral and unjust.

“If the Home Secretary Suella Braverman had any ounce of decency she would resign. If the Prime Minister had any kind of authority, he would sack her.”