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Professor Catherine Briddick and Professor Cathryn Costello (Sutherland School of Law, University College Dublin) have together given Written Evidence to the House of Lords International Agreements Committee on the UK-Rwanda Agreement.

In this evidence they state, “The use of an international treaty does not mean that Rwanda is a safe country. International law requires that the assessment of safety is an empirical matter, not a purely legal one. Although concluding an international treaty may make it more likely that the provisions of the agreement will be respected, that cannot be assumed.”

They further state “The UK-Rwanda Agreement does not make Rwanda a safe third country or offer individuals at risk of relocation sufficient protection from refoulement and other human rights violations. Instead, the Agreement enables the relocation of individuals in circumstances that risk breaching the UK’s obligations under a range of international human rights and refugee law treaties, customary international law and arguably norms of jus cogens. Any attempt to relocate an individual pursuant to this Agreement is likely to be contested, not only before the ECtHR but also before a range of UN Treaty Bodies”

The full Written Evidence is available online here:

This article in The Guardian includes reference to the Written Evidence and also to comments from the Law Society, the Immigration Lawyers Practitioners Association, and the Bar Council.

On 17 January, the House of Lords International Agreements Committee published their report: 4th Report - Scrutiny of international agreements: UK–Rwanda Agreement on an Asylum Partnership