The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been granted permission to intervene in a legal challenge brought by PLP’s client against the Home Office.

SM is a Sudanese torture survivor who is challenging plans to potentially remove him to Rwanda. This is currently the main test case against the Government’s Rwanda policy.

The final hearing is listed for 9-12 July and will deal with SM, the other few individual cases now joined, and UNHCR’s intervention.

In response to Monday’s permission decision, Shameem Ahmad, CEO at PLP said:

“This intervention from UNHCR shows that deficiencies in Rwanda’s asylum process persist and that there is still a risk of asylum seekers being refouled. This directly contradicts what the Government has said about Rwanda being safe.

“This illustrates how problematic it is that current Home Office guidance directs immigration officials not to consider that people could be removed to another country from Rwanda, when making decisions about asylum claims.

It has been widely reported that the UNHCR is investigating new evidence from 2024 that could prove asylum seekers in Rwanda are still at risk of refoulement, as the agency told the High Court on June 10.

Shameem Ahmad said:

“Our client should never have had to bring this case. The Rwanda policy has already been to the Supreme Court where it was unanimously found to be unlawful due to the risk of refoulment.

“Our client fled persecution from Sudan where he was tortured by the security services. He arrived here over 2 years ago and claimed asylum immediately. If his asylum claim had been dealt with efficiently, he would have almost certainly been given refugee status. Instead he has been unfairly left in limbo, even though there has been no chance of him being removed to Rwanda and there may never be.

“PLP calls on Government and all parties to acknowledge that this policy is unlawful, dangerous, and cruel, and to commit immediately to abandoning the Rwanda plan. We need an immigration system that is unapologetically fair and humane.”

Find out more about the case and our client’s grounds.