CAMPAIGNERS have hailed the UK’s top court’s decision to strike down the Rwanda plan as a “victory for humanity”.

The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday morning that plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda were unlawful on the grounds they would be at risk of being sent back to the countries they had fled from.

It is a major blow to the Government as the plan was one of their major policies to deter people from claiming asylum in Britain and crossing the Channel in small boats.

'Grubby cash-for-people deal'

Steve Smith, CEO of refugee charity Care4Calais who were a claimant in the initial legal challenge against the Rwanda plan, said the ruling should bring “this shameful mark on the UK’s history to a close”.

He said: “The Supreme Court’s judgement is a victory for humanity. This grubby, cash-for-people deal was always cruel and immoral but, most importantly, it is unlawful.

“Hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent on this cruel policy, and the only receipts the Government has are the pain and torment inflicted on the thousands of survivors of war, torture and modern slavery they have targeted with it.

“The responsibility for the trauma, the incidences of self-harm, and the attempted suicides this policy has caused, today lies as a great weight on the shoulders of every Government Minister who has supported it.

“Today’s judgment should bring this shameful mark on the UK’s history to a close.”

Amnesty International said the Government must now focus on tackling the backlog of asylum claims which leaves many languishing in temporary accommodation, unable to work.

Sacha Deshmukh, the organisation’s chief executive in the UK, said: “The deal with Rwanda – a country with a track record of serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, torture and the repression of free speech – was massively ill-conceived and cruel.

“It’s now time for the Government and the new Home Secretary to not only abandon the idea of doing a deal with Rwanda, but to scrap the underlying policy of refusing to process people’s asylum claims and the Illegal Migration Act that has entrenched that dismal policy.”

He added: “The only responsible, effective and decent response to this judgement should be to get down to the serious task of fairly and efficiently determining people’s claims.

“The idea that the UK should withdraw from the European Convention to pursue this failed policy is nonsensical and should be immediately binned.”

Detention Action said the plan should be abandoned altogether. Its director James Wilson said: “We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court and are deeply relieved that people seeking asylum here will not be handed over to an authoritarian regime.

“We are proud to have been one of the first claimants to bring this historic legal challenge, in solidarity with the thousands of people threatened with removal to Rwanda.

“We urge the new Home Secretary to abandon this policy altogether, rather than repeating this mistake by seeking a similar agreement with another country.”

The SNP said the policy showed the UK Government had “made it clear they couldn't care less about some of the most vulnerable people in the world”.


Alison Thewliss, the party’s home affairs spokesperson, said: "It is right that the Supreme Court has shut down the Tory party's cruel plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda – the policy should never have been put on the table. It is morally wrong and inhumane.

READ MORE: Suella Braverman launches scathing attack on Rishi Sunak in letter after sacking

"Under the Tories, there are rising numbers of people awaiting asylum decisions, safe and legal routes have been closed down, and many Home Office staff are being left without the resources they need.

Westminster have made it clear they couldn't care less about some of the most vulnerable people in the world.”

Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens' justice spokesperson, said: "It is quite fitting that this vile and racist plan has been rejected only days after Suella Braverman was finally forced out of office. It must go with her.

“The UK Government was prepared to put people’s lives at risk, spend millions of pounds of UK taxpayers money and betray human rights on an industrial scale. 

“The reality is that her Tory colleagues are every bit as responsible as she is. They signed off on it and defended it as part of their cynical and cruel culture war against some of the most vulnerable communities."

Alba's Westminster leader Neale Hanvey said it was now time to "deport Westminster rule from Scotland" arguing immigration would be a battleground in the next election. 

The MP said: "The Tories will be calling for the UK to leave the European Human Rights Court and Labour will be in a race to the bottom on immigration. 

"Scotland should use the next General Election to deport Westminster rule from Scotland once and for all, that way we can have a fair immigration policy suited to the needs of Scotland to help grow our population.”

Alistair Carmichael, the LibDems' home affairs spokesperson added: “So much time and money has already been wasted. It’s time for James Cleverly to get serious and get on with fixing the broken asylum system.

“Tackling the sky-high asylum backlog and creating safe and legal routes for sanctuary will make far more progress towards that than this pet project policy ever could.”

While the Government’s opponents and human rights groups have welcomed the decision, it will also vindicate the sacked former home secretary Suella Braverman, who claimed on Tuesday that Rishi Sunak had failed to prepare for this outcome.

In a scathing letter to the Prime Minister the day before the ruling, Braverman said: “If we lose in the Supreme Court, an outcome that I have consistently argued we must be prepared for, you will have wasted a year and an Act of Parliament, only to arrive at square one.

“Worse than this, your magical thinking – believing that you can will your way through this without upsetting polite opinion – has meant you have failed to prepare any sort of credible ‘Plan B’.”

She added: “I can only surmise that this is because you have no appetite for doing what is necessary, and therefore no real intention of fulfilling your pledge to the British people.”

Responding to the ruling, Sunak pointed out that the ruling had made clear it could be lawful to send asylum seekers to another country, just not Rwanda. This opens up the possibility the Government may seek a similar deal with another nation.

He said: “This was not the outcome we wanted, but we have spent the last few months planning for all eventualities and we remain completely committed to stopping the boats.

“Crucially, the Supreme Court – like the Court of Appeal and the High Court before it – has confirmed that the principle of sending illegal migrants to a safe third country for processing is lawful.

“This confirms the Government’s clear view from the outset.

“Illegal migration destroys lives and costs British taxpayers millions of pounds a year. We need to end it and we will do whatever it takes to do so.

“Because when people know that if they come here illegally, they won’t get to stay then they will stop coming altogether, and we will stop the boats.”