RWANDA is a “safe” country to deport illegal immigrants and bring an end to “perilous” Channel crossings, Britain’s top judges were told.
Suella Braverman's lawyers are facing off against left-wing campaigners in a crunch Supreme Court battle to decide the fate of the flagship asylum plan.
The opening skirmishes of a three-day hearing saw the government insist that Rwanda was “less attractive” than Britain to live “but nevertheless safe”.
Home Office barrister Sir James Eadie KC hailed the East African nation as a “friendly foreign state” that was “fully committed” to its side of the multi-million-pound deal.
A High Court judgement that Rwanda was safe was overturned last summer by the Court of Appeal essentially on a technicality.
Two judges were concerned that there was no guarantee the Kigali government would not later deport the migrants back to their home countries, where they could face persecution.
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But today Sir James stressed there were “very powerful” incentives for Rwanda to honour the deal that sees it take in Britain’s illegal migrants in exchange for £140million.
And he told the five Supreme Court judges of the “serious and pressing need to take effective steps that will act as a deterrent to those undertaking the perilous and sometimes life-threatening journey, typically across the Channel, from a safe country.”
More than 20,000 people have arrived in the UK on small boats already this year, with Mr Sunak yearning to get Rwanda off the ground as a visible deterrent.
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Yet lawyers representing asylum seekers told the court Rwanda was a “highly autocratic repressive state” which “imprisons, tortures and murders those it considers to be its opponents”.
Raza Husain KC said: “The Rwandan asylum system is woefully deficient. It's marked by acute unfairness and arbitrariness… serious safeguarding and capacity issues.”
Even if the Supreme Court green-lights the plan, ministers are bracing for a battle with the European Court of Human Rights.
The Strasbourg judges grounded the first would-be flight in June 2022 using an eleventh-hour injunction.
The meddling has sparked a clamour from many Tory MPs to pull Britain out of their remit.
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