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Rwanda is Not a “Safe Third Country” to Send Asylum Seekers

The UK supreme court has unanimously ruled that the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful. The courts cited extensive evidence from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) that Rwanda does not respect the principle of non-refoulement – a legal obligation. The UNHCR’s evidence questioned the ability of Rwandan authorities to fairly assess asylum claims. It also raised concerns about human rights violations by Rwandan authorities, including not respecting non-refoulement with other asylum seekers. It is important to note that the supreme court’s decision is not a comment on the political viability of the Rwanda plan, or on the concept of offshoring asylum processes generally.