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British court rules against Rwanda plan


Britain’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful, dealing a blow to the Conservative government, which has long described the plan as central to its pledge to stop illegal migration across the English Channel.

The ruling is the latest setback for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a time of intense political turmoil in his party, which has held power for 13 years and is lagging in the polls. Rights groups and opposition politicians widely criticized the policy from the start, with many pointing to Rwanda’s troubled record on human rights.

After the ruling, the government said that it was still committed to sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, although how that plan might work — and whether it could happen before the expected general election next year — was unclear. No asylum seekers have yet been sent to Rwanda because of a series of legal challenges.

Justice Robert Reed, one of five judges who heard the case, said the plan would breach both British and international law. He emphasized that the court supported an earlier Court of Appeal decision finding that Rwanda was not safe for refugees, saying bluntly, “We agree with their conclusion.”

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