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UK's Rwanda Asylum: Non-Refoulement Impact SRIRAM's Analysis



  Nov 20, 2023

UK’s Rwanda Asylum Policy and Non-refoulement



1. What is the UK’s Rwanda Asylum Policy?

This policy involves relocating certain asylum seekers arriving in the UK to Rwanda, where their asylum claims are processed. It aims to address illegal migration and discourage dangerous journeys across the English Channel.

2. Why was this policy implemented?

The UK government introduced this policy to deter illegal migration, reduce human smuggling, and prevent perilous sea crossings.

3. What led to the UK Supreme Court ruling the policy unlawful?

The Supreme Court ruled it unlawful, citing concerns that Rwanda could not be considered a safe third country for asylum seekers, based on the principle of non-refoulement.

4. How is Rwanda involved in this policy?

Under the policy, Rwanda is responsible for processing asylum claims of individuals transferred from the UK. Rwanda agreed to this arrangement, which includes significant financial support from the UK for development and integration initiatives.

5. Why did Rwanda agree to this arrangement?

Rwanda entered the agreement as part of its development strategy, receiving £120 million from the UK alongside additional funding for each immigrant’s relocation and accommodation.

Non-Refoulement in International Refugee Law

Non-refoulement is a principle in international refugee law that prohibits a country from returning asylum seekers or refugees to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.
This principle is essential for protecting individuals from persecution, torture, or other severe human rights violations. It's a cornerstone of the 1951 Refugee Convention and is binding on all countries that have signed it, ensuring that people fleeing danger are not forced back into unsafe situations.
Non-refoulement is a crucial aspect of international human rights law, reinforcing the obligation of countries to protect those who seek refuge within their borders.

Art.21

In Indian law, the principle of non-refoulement is implicitly recognized under Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty.
This was highlighted in a ruling by the High Court of Manipur, which allowed Myanmar nationals to travel to New Delhi to seek protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The court stated that the extensive protection provided by Article 21 would indeed encompass the right of non-refoulement. Although India is not a party to the UN Refugee Conventions, it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which underpin the principle of non-refoulement.
This principle asserts that a person fleeing persecution from their own country should not be forced to return to a place where they face serious threats to their life or freedom


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