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THE Home Office policy of removing asylum-seekers to Rwanda within three weeks of arrival “upholds” their rights, the government has insisted in the High Court.
Opponents of the deal argued on Thursday that the government’s timescales are unfair and unlawful.
The court heard earlier how asylum-seekers who are given a “notice of intent” to remove them to the east African country are then given just seven days to make the case against their removal.
Charlotte Kilroy KC, representing Asylum Aid, said this period was “manifestly too short,” failing to give asylum-seekers sufficient time to access proper legal advice and gather evidence for their cases.
Defending the policy, Home Office lawyers told judges today that the seven-day notice, in many cases, “gives sufficient opportunity to the individual to make representations.”
“There is no reason why the procedure should not be ‘capable of completion’ fairly in two to three weeks,” the lawyer said in written submissions.
“That would further the objective of speedy decision-making in the public interest and individual interest.”
The court heard earlier how the “highly abbreviated” process for selecting asylum seekers for removal was “systematically unlawful,” and not just in individual cases.
Mr Brown said this complaint was “unfounded” as many asylum-seekers with tickets for the flight to Rwanda on June 14, which was grounded at the last-minute, had had access to a lawyer and launched challenges.
The lawyer also disputed claims from campaigners that the short process has been deliberately designed so most people fail to challenge their removal, telling judges: “The procedure as it is intended to operate (and does operate) upholds, rather than denies, individuals’ rights.”
The judicial review follows a separate challenge in the High Court last month which found that senior government officials had repeatedly raised serious concerns about Rwanda’s human rights record and the country’s suitability for asylum-seekers.
The case before Mr Justice Swift and Lord Justice Lewis concluded this afternoon, with a decision on both the October and September hearings potentially due to be handed down by the end of the month.
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