Thank you for taking the time to write to me regarding the Government's Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill. The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill has been introduced to make it clear that Rwanda is a safe country for asylum seekers, and that people who have come to the UK illegally can be removed there swiftly. This will build on the legally binding treaty signed by the UK and Rwanda.
It is worth noting that the United Nations Refugee Agency has successfully settled vulnerable Afghan refugees in Rwanda, despite the UN criticising the UK Government's plan to send illegal migrants there.
For the purposes of the Bill, a safe country is defined as one to which people may be removed from the UK in compliance with all the UK’s obligations under international law that are relevant in that country of people who are removed there.
This means that someone removed to that country will not be removed or sent to another country in contravention of any international law, and that anyone who is seeking asylum or who has had an asylum determination will have their claim determined and be treated in accordance with that country’s obligations under international law.
Anyone removed to Rwanda under the provisions of the treaty will not be removed from Rwanda, except to the United Kingdom in a very small number of limited and extreme circumstances, and should the UK request the return of any relocated person, Rwanda will make them available. Decision makers, including the Home Secretary, immigration officers and the courts, must all treat Rwanda as a safe country. They must do so notwithstanding all relevant UK law, or any interpretation of international law, including the following:
• The Human Rights Convention,
• The Refugee Convention
• The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966
• The United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984
• The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings done at Warsaw on 16 May 2005
• Customary international law, and;
• Any other international law, or convention or rule of international law, whatsoever, including any order, judgment, decision or measure of the European Court of Human Rights.
Sally-Ann Hart MP