The judicial arm of the Council of Europe has asked London to submit observations on the case
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is looking into the case of an Iraqi asylum seeker who faces deportation from the UK to Rwanda under the $170million migration deal between London and Kigali. The court on Tuesday asked the British government to “provide commentson the question after receiving a “valid applicationfrom the Iraqi national on March 15.
Called NSK, the applicant was refused asylum after arriving in La Manche in May 2022 and notified of his deportation to Rwanda. He filed a petition with the European Court, saying he would not have access to a fair refugee status determination process and that deportees to Rwanda risked ill-treatment if they protested their conditions.
On June 14, 2022, the ECHR invoked Rule 39 of its procedure to prevent the UK from deporting him, citing concerns about inhuman and degrading treatment in Rwanda. The court asked that the 55-year-old not be extradited until three weeks after the final internal decision in his ongoing judicial review proceedings was issued. The interim measure became ineffective on February 6, 2023.
Despite fierce opposition from human rights organizations and individuals, the High Court in London ruled in December that the plan to deport people to Rwanda was legal. The High Court, however, ruled that applications of the policy in individual cases were unlawful and formally quashed the decisions in the successful claimants’ cases, including that of NSK.
The ECHR asks the parties to determine whether the complainant, who cannot be deported until further decisions by the British Home Secretary, can be considered a “victimand whether his return to Rwanda would violate Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.
The British government has made illegal immigration a priority issue, with the deportation agreement with Rwanda being one of its key policies. UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman insisted that Rwanda is a safe haven for asylum seekers, describing the “unique partnership” like a “powerful deterrent against dangerous and illegal travel.” The country has also revealed plans to house asylum seekers in abandoned military barracks to reduce the cost of temporary accommodation for migrants.
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