London, Dec 7 (IANS): British Home Secretary James Cleverly will introduce the Safety of Rwanda Bill in Parliament on Thursday, making clear that the country is a safe place where illegal migrants can be lawfully relocated.
Once the bill -- one of the toughest immigration legislation ever introduced to Parliament -- receives Royal Assent, it will pave the way for the UK to begin next steps in processing people for relocation and starting removal flights to Rwanda.
According to the Home Office, the British government intends to fast-track the emergency legislation through the House as soon as possible.
The draft of the new Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill builds on the Treaty signed by Cleverly and Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vincent Biruta.
It makes clear in UK law that Rwanda is a safe country for asylum seekers -- answering all of the concerns of the Supreme Court, the Home Office said.
The legislation and Treaty deliver on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s priority to stop the boats and ensure that people know that if they come to the UK illegally, they will not be able to stay.
Sunak said that the "endless scourge" of illegal migration is costing the UK billions of pounds and costing innocent lives, which is why it is important for his government to make it clear once and for all that "it is Parliament that should decide who comes to this country, not criminal gangs".
“Through this new landmark emergency legislation, we will control our borders, deter people taking perilous journeys across the channel and end the continuous legal challenges filling our courts," the Prime Minister said.
“And we will disapply sections of the Human Rights Act from the key parts of the Bill, specifically in the case of Rwanda, to ensure our plan cannot be stopped," he added.
Underpinned by the Treaty, the law will prevent UK courts and tribunals from delaying or preventing a person’s removal to Rwanda, on the grounds that they are at risk of being removed to an unsafe country.
The bill will also make clear that the UK Parliament is sovereign, and the validity of any Act of Parliament is unaffected by international law.
Ministers will retain the decision on whether or not to comply with interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights.
It also makes clear the extremely limited exceptions which individuals could challenge removal to Rwanda, and the exceptions which narrow this to the maximum allowed within the law.
This includes preventing UK courts and tribunals from granting interim measures, apart from when a person can produce compelling evidence -- as a result of their specific personal circumstances -- that would lead to them facing a real, imminent and foreseeable risk of serious and irreversible harm if removed to Rwanda.
In addition, it disapplies elements of the Human Rights Act 1998, meaning they cannot be factored into court or tribunal decision making.
“This will play a key part in our efforts to stop the boats and save lives -- I would urge Parliament to ensure the legislation is passed as soon as possible," Cleverly said in a statement.
He added that Rwanda is a country that "cares deeply" about supporting refugees, and stands ready to welcome those relocated there.
The bill also further reflects the strength of the Government of Rwanda’s protections and commitments given to people transferred to Rwanda, as committed to in the Treaty, the Home Office said.
Rwanda currently hosts more than 135,000 people seeking safety and protection and has a track record of providing that protection and supporting people in thriving in their country.