People wait to enter a registration center for asylum seekers in Berlin. [EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN]
On Wednesday, the UK’s highest court ruled that a plan to send those wanting to seek asylum in the UK, to Rwanda, was ruled illegal. The judgement also drew attention in Germany as Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD/S&D) had announced last week that the government would review the possibility of setting up a similar system.
German advocates of the plan remained unperturbed by the British ruling as they pointed out that the court’s objections were specific to the UK implementation.
The liberal FDP, which had pushed for a review, argued that it was “still not impossible” to outsource asylum procedures.
“I expressly welcome the judgement,” Ann-Veruschka Jurisch, the FDP’s lead MP on migration policy, told Euractiv.
“This creates guidelines that we can take into account in our review,” she said.
The Supreme Court judges argued that the British legislation violated the non-refoulment principle of international refugee conventions. Applicants were at risk of being returned to countries where their lives would be in danger due to the shortcomings of the Rwandan asylum system, the judges said.
Germany could preclude such a breach of human rights law by ensuring that application checks were carried out orderly, for example, under the supervision of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Jurisch suggested.
Moreover, in a key difference from British legislation, Germany plans for successful applicants to return to Europe once their claims have been accepted.
“The British government pursues an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ strategy – it doesn’t care at all what happens to refugees after they arrive in Rwanda,” Lars Castellucci, a senior MP of Scholz’s SPD, criticised on X, adding he was glad about the ruling.
Castellucci also pointed to an alternative SPD concept for outsourcing asylum screenings, which he claimed would be more humane.
In any case, Germany is expected to follow through with a feasibility review, as the coalition members, including the pro-migration Greens, had loosely agreed to do so in their 2021 coalition agreement.
However, while their coalition partners remained open to implementing the measure, the Greens saw the UK ruling as proof that the review would show outsourced asylum procedures to be illegal.
The Supreme Court had basically conducted the review already, Jürgen Trittin, the Greens’ lead MP on foreign affairs, argued.
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