UN urges UK to abandon plan to deport refugees to Rwanda

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations human rights committee on Thursday urged Britain to abandon a controversial bill to deport refugees to Rwanda that could become law next month.

In its review of the UK, the committee said it regretted the agreements reached with some third countries, notably Rwanda, to transfer asylum seekers, as well as “efforts to adopt the UK Security (Asylum and Immigration) Bill.” The court ruled that the deal would not be consistent with international law.”

The Commission said it calls on the British government to withdraw the draft law or cancel it if it is passed.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Conservative government wants to transfer thousands of asylum seekers who arrive in the UK each year on small inflatable boats to Rwanda, but legal challenges have so far prevented sending anyone to the east African country.

The government suffered a setback to its Rwanda plan – which it hopes will act as a deterrent to people trying to cross by boat – when the UK Supreme Court ruled last year that the policy was illegal because there was a risk of people being sent there. They could be returned to their countries of origin and their safety could be at risk.

To overcome court objections, Sunak's government hopes to pass a bill declaring Rwanda safe for asylum seekers. The legislation is scheduled to be discussed again in Parliament on April 15.

(Reporting by Gabriel Tetrault-Farber; Editing in Spanish by Benjamin Mejías Valencia)

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