NUJ responds to Supreme Court Rwanda ruling

  • 21 Nov 2023

The union's Black Members' Council said it was a welcome reversal of an inhumane policy. 

The National Union of Journalists has welcomed a Supreme Court judgment ruling the UK government’s scheme to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful. The union's Black Members Council has hailed the ruling as a welcome reversal of an inhumane policy. 

Judges agreed unanimously with the Court of Appeal ruling that there was a risk asylum seekers could be returned to their country of origin where they could face persecution, if decisions on claims were wrongly determined.

In December 2022, the High Court ruled in favour of the government stating the Rwanda policy did not breach the UN’s Refugee Convention, and that Rwanda could be considered a “safe third country.” An appeal of this decision followed, and removals to Rwanda were deemed unlawful.

The decision by the Supreme Court on 15 November following an appeal by the UK government, comes as a victory to campaigners and trade unions including the NUJ, who had recognised the policy as harmful and in breach of human rights law.

Rishi Sunak, prime minister, has said he will introduce emergency legislation to deem Rwanda a safe country.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said:

“We welcome the Court of Appeal’s judgment. The court has clearly set out the position that the Rwanda scheme risked breaching the human rights of asylum seekers. This shameful policy was designed to dehumanise vulnerable people who had asserted their right to assistance and should never have been tabled.”

Tony Adams, Black Members’ Council chair, said: 

"The NUJ Black Members' Council was instrumental in highlighting the depravity of the government’s Rwanda policy and challenged its rhetoric with a motion that was unanimously passed at conference earlier this year, and subsequently welcomes the recent landmark Court of Appeal’s judgment. The sheer notion of a plan to relocate some of the most desperate and vulnerable individuals, in dire need of assistance, to Rwanda was nothing short of disgraceful and should never have seen the light of day."


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