Ministers finalising evidence dossier to show judges Rwanda is safe for refugees

Ministers are finalising a dossier of evidence designed to show that Rwanda is a safe home for refugees as Rishi Sunak battles to push his migration policy through.

A new treaty with the African state is expected to be published as soon as this week, in which Rwanda’s government will guarantee not to mistreat asylum seekers or wrongly send them back to their home country.

The move is intended to reassure judges that the plan to deport migrants who enter the UK illegally to the country is not a breach of their human rights.

It will be accompanied by Government legislation – likely to come later this month – legally declaring that Rwanda is “safe” in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to block the plan.

The new law will be backed up by an evidence bundle purporting to prove that the concerns about Rwanda’s own migration system are no longer a threat to the wellbeing of refugees.

Ministers want to avoid the possibility of legal objections blocking deportation flights shortly before they are due to take off, as has happened before.

A senior Government insider said: “It needs to go through all the points that the Supreme Court raised. We have done a lot of stuff with the Rwandan government to improve their processes. We need to make it so there is no room for any new concerns at the last minute.”

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins told Times Radio: “Of course we respect the judgement, but we are confident that we can meet those concerns and we can do that in a variety of ways, including a new treaty with Rwanda. And the Home Secretary’s doing everything he can to ensure that happens so that those flights can take off.”

James Cleverly, who took over at the Home Office after Suella Braverman was sacked, is set to travel to Rwanda to finalise the deal.

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As part of the agreement the UK is likely to give Kigali another £15m on top of the £140m already committed, according to the Sunday Times.

A No 10 source responded: “If there is an extra cost to addressing the problems the Supreme Court raised, we’re confident it pales in comparison to the £8m a day being spent on migrant hotels. We’re confident getting flights going would be value for money as it would work as an effective deterrent to stop people making the crossings in the first place saving us billions.”

Some Conservative MPs want the Prime Minister to suspend the operation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) for the purposes of deportations. But ex-Justice Secretary Sir Robert Buckland warned: “The ECHR underpins the very fabric of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement,” he told the BBC Sunday Politics programme.

“To ignore that reality in the context of a debate about migration would be to threaten and endanger the Good Friday/Belfast process and once again undermine the position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.”

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