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Council of Europe expresses concern over UK's Rwanda deportation bill

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern over UK's controversial migration deportation plan, Rwanda Bill, saying it is "another representation of an ongoing trend towards externalisation of asylum and migration policy" in Europe.

"The adoption of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill by the UK Parliament raises major issues about the human rights of asylum seekers and the rule of law more generally," Michael O’Flaherty said in a statement released by the Council of Europe on Tuesday.

It came after the Safety of Rwanda Bill passed through parliament late Monday, paving the way for it to become law despite growing concern.

"The United Kingdom government should refrain from removing people under the Rwanda policy and reverse the Bill's effective infringement of judicial independence," he noted.

The bill aims to address the concerns of the UK Supreme Court, which ruled that the government's original plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful.

The bill compels judges to regard Rwanda as a safe country and gives ministers the power to disregard parts of the Human Rights Act.

Admitting that managing asylum and migration is "undoubtedly a complex endeavour" for states, O’Flaherty said he is concerned that the Rwanda Bill enables the implementation of a policy of removing people to Rwanda without any prior assessment of their asylum claims by the UK authorities in the majority of cases.


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