Iraqi asylum seeker contests deportation to Rwanda in European Court over refugee status and mistreatment concerns

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has taken up the case of an Iraqi asylum seeker who is facing deportation from the United Kingdom to Rwanda as part of a highly controversial agreement between London and Kigali.

On March 15, the applicant filed an application with the ECHR, which has now sent “questions to the parties” involved in the case as a procedural step in the examination process.

The applicant, who arrived in the UK in May 2022 and was subsequently denied asylum, is now at risk of being deported to Rwanda under the deportation agreement signed between the two countries in April 2022.

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However, the ECHR intervened in June 2022 by activating Rule 39 of its Rules of Procedure, which governs emergency measures, to prevent the UK from expelling the applicant.

The applicant claims that if deported to Rwanda, he would not have access to a proper refugee status determination procedure, citing Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights that prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.

The ECHR also noted concerns about potential detention and mistreatment in Rwanda for those deported, as highlighted by several human rights organizations.

The UK government’s plan to deport individuals to Rwanda has faced legal challenges, with the High Court in London initially ruling in December that the scheme was “legal.”

However, in January, the British courts agreed to review the government’s plan as soon as possible, indicating the controversial nature of the deportation agreement.

The issue of illegal immigration has been a priority for the British Conservatives, who made it a promise of “Brexit.” In 2022, there has been a significant increase in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel on small boats to reach the UK, with over 45,000 arrivals compared to 28,526 in 2021.

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The ECHR’s examination of the case of the Iraqi asylum seeker facing deportation to Rwanda, as part of the UK’s deportation agreement, raises significant legal and human rights concerns.

The applicant’s claims of lack of access to proper refugee status determination and potential mistreatment in Rwanda, along with the legal challenges faced by the UK government’s deportation plan, highlight the complexity and controversy of the issue of illegal immigration in the UK.

The final decision of the ECHR on the admissibility of the complaint and the fate of the applicant remains to be seen.

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