The development and humanitarian arm of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), has welcomed the United Kingdom’s (UK) Supreme Court ruling against the country’s plan to send asylum seekers on a one-way trip to Rwanda.
On Thursday, November 16, UK’s apex court unanimously ruled that the Rwandan asylum plan was unlawful. The Supreme Court President said there was strong evidence to believe that refugees could be at risk of being returned to their home countries if the Rwandan asylum plan went through.
The UK government announced that it struck a deal with Rwanda to send illegal migrants crossing the Channel river from France to the East African nation in April 2022. UK former Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the £120m Rwanda asylum plan would save lives from human trafficking.
In a November 16 statement, CAFOD Head of Campaigns said the court ruling “makes clear that we have a moral and legal duty to care for migrants and refugees.”
Ms. Aisha Dodwell said the Rwanda plan “was a cruel attempt to turn away people who are seeking protection.”
Under the asylum plan, migrants would be granted refugee status to stay in Rwanda. Those who would not be granted refugee status in the East African nation seek asylum in another country.
Human rights groups have reportedly criticized the deal saying it is unethical to send migrants to a country they do not want to live in.
In the statement, Ms. Dodwell says, “We urgently need to transform the way migrants are treated. In the absence of safe and legal routes, thousands of people die each year as they are forced to take dangerous journeys to reach safely.”
“As Pope Francis tells us, we must welcome people without prejudice and focus on building bridges and not walls,” the CAFOD official says.
By Magdalene Kahiu