The Rwanda ruling – Right to Remain message

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'No One Is Illegal' graffiti on a wall in Hackney.

This blog was originally published on 29 June 2023.

Everyone in our Right to Remain community welcomes the Court of Appeal ruling on 29 June 2023, which found that Rwanda is not a safe third country for people who seek asylum in the UK.

We salute each and every person who has contributed and sustained this act of resistance, which shone brilliantly in the court of law.

What did the Court of Appeal decide?

The Court of Appeal in the UK decided to remove Rwanda’s status as a safe third country. The court found that, for people who seek asylum in the UK, a risk remained that if they were sent to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed there, the Rwandan government could send them back to the countries from which they had fled.

However, the court in its decision did not find the plan to send people who seek asylum in the UK to have their claims processed in another country to be unlawful. This means that if the Home Office finds another country which the courts deem to be a safe third country (not Rwanda) to agree, it could potentially carry out a version of this plan in the future.

So, the court’s decision is definitely a victory for migration justice, but the fight is far from over. We still have plenty of work to do.

If you would like to understand what the Rwanda plan is, you can catch up by reading our Legal Update here.

If you would like to read about the High Court decision (which was reversed in the Court of Appeal decision), you can read our Legal Update here.

The case will now likely go to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom if permission is granted for the government to appeal.

What we believe

The Rwanda plan should have never come into existence, and it has already done so much harm. It has caused endless fear, despair and anger in our community and beyond. It has revealed that moral abyss does not exist in some far away, fictional place – it lives amongst us.

Let us say this again. The Rwanda plan should have never come into existence. But it has made us more determined than ever to build a society that protects everyone. It has galvanised our efforts to build radical solidarity with others, where everyone can exercise their right to remain where they need to. And it has allowed us to discover that more and more people are prepared to stand up for human dignity.

Our message to the UK government is clear. Ditch the Rwanda plan altogether – there is no need to take the matter to the Supreme Court. And ditch the Illegal Migration Bill too – there is no need to pretend that people seeking safety is the problem. What we need instead is courage to build a different, alternative society where everyone is safe – and our Right to Remain community has plenty of that courage.

In light of today’s ruling and the anticipated struggle ahead, our beliefs are stronger than ever. Migration is life. No one is illegal. These walls must fall.