Is Deporting Syrian Asylum Seekers from Britain to Rwanda Legal?

A group of lawyers are challenging the UK's decision to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, according to Enab Baladi.

On June 14th and 15th, Syrian refugees held in two detention centers near London are expected to be deported to Rwanda as part of an agreement signed between the two countries, which is worth millions of dollars.

According to the Life Seeker Aid charity (LSA), which helps refugees in Britain, “the applications of the Syrian asylum seekers who are currently detained near the airport in London have not been processed yet. They are potential refugees and have this right. If these applications are looked at by the British government, they will be granted asylum, as they have kinship ties in Britain.”

The entry of Syrian refugees who are currently detained into Britain “was not arbitrary, but rather they have relatives who have been legally residing in Britain for years, and they are ready to host them,” according to an LSA officer who spoke to Enab Baladi.

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The problem, according to the organization, is that “these detained refugees, of Syrian and various other nationalities, entered Britain on May 9th, that is, after the decision of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, last April, to prevent any asylum seekers from residing in Britain.”

Unclear criteria

LSA explained that the Syrian youths who are threatened with deportation to Rwanda do not include women or children. At present, “the Ministry of Interior focuses on deporting young male asylum seekers between 20 and 30.”

The organization criticized the British government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, claiming this procedure “is not based on clear criteria, which makes deportation a random process, including several asylum seekers who are entitled to remain in Britain.”

Based on this, LSA has appointed a group of lawyers to submit their legal challenges related to the deportation of these refugees, but the deportation decision is still pendingز

Under the plan, which will cost Britain 120 million pounds, asylum applications will be submitted in the UK for processing, while asylum seekers will wait in Rwanda.

The Dublin Convention on the Distribution of Refugees stipulates that the country in which asylum seekers first arrive must consider their asylum applications and accept their return to it if they leave for another European country.

Under the agreement, the fingerprints of any asylum seeker in the first European country they enter will be taken and included in the shared database to determine whether the owner has applied for asylum in another European country.

According to the Convention, asylum seekers may not be arbitrarily detained in detention centers unless they have committed crimes.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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