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Despite setback, UK Rwanda plan likely to become law

The protracted parliamentary battle over the bill seeking to send asylum seekers to Rwanda will continue on 22 April in the House of Commons, following a fourth rejection in the upper house of the UK’s parliament on Wednesday, 17 April. 

The government hopes that the 22 April debate will be the last step to getting the wording of the legislation right and overcoming a Supreme Court ruling that found a previous iteration of the policy to be unlawful. The initiative is one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s flagship projects. 

In the 17 April vote, the upper chamber amended a version of the bill that the lower house had approved. Both houses must agree for the bill to become law. Sunak hopes to push through the controversial plan that would see asylum seekers who arrive by boat to the UK sent to Rwanda. 

Human rights experts say the law, if passed, will violate both domestic and international legal standards. Earlier this year, a UK parliamentary report also found the bill to be incompatible with the UK’s human rights obligations. Asylum seekers already sent to Rwanda have reported sexual abuse from authorities, discrimination, and a lack of protection from the UK government.  

Read about it in our article from January: Asylum seekers sent by the UK to Rwanda report sexual abuse and harassment.

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