A UN panel has called on the UK to abandon plans to deport refugees to Rwanda

A UN panel has called on the UK to abandon plans to deport refugees to Rwanda

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations human rights panel demanded on Thursday that Britain drop a controversial bill that would have allowed the deportation of refugees to Rwanda, which could be approved next month.

In its review, the committee deplored agreements reached with some third countries, particularly Rwanda, to relocate asylum seekers, as well as “attempts to pass the Rwanda Protection (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, despite a UK Supreme Court ruling that the agreement was inconsistent with international law.”

The group said it would urge the British government to withdraw the bill or, if passed, repeal it.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government wants to resettle thousands of asylum seekers who arrive in the UK each year on small inflatable boats to live in Rwanda, but legal challenges have so far prevented anyone from being sent to the East African country.

The government suffered a setback to its plan — which it hopes will act as a deterrent to people trying to cross the border in small boats — when the UK Supreme Court ruled the policy illegal last year. People sent there will be sent back to their home countries and their security will be compromised.

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

(By Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber)

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