The UK’s highest court has rejected the government’s plans to deport people seeking asylum to Rwanda, much to the relief of LGBTQIA+ rights campaigners, organisations and charities.

The country’s dire track record on human rights, especially in relation to LGBTQIA+ people, resulted in widespread condemnation of the policy as soon as it was announced in April 2022.

These ultimately factored into the Supreme Court ruling it unlawful earlier today, with its past treatment of refugees also cited in the decision.

“The evidence shows that there are substantial grounds for believing that there is a real risk that asylum claims will not be determined properly, and that asylum seekers will therefore be at risk of being returned directly or indirectly to their country of origin,” Lord Reed, the court’s president, said while announcing the “unanimous” judgement.

“The changes and capacity-building needed to eliminate that risk may be delivered in the future, but they were not shown to be in place when the lawfulness of the Rwanda policy had to be considered in these proceedings.”

No asylum seeker was ever sent to Rwanda under the scheme, which was one of Rishi Sunak’s key immigration policies, as the first scheduled flight in June of last year was cancelled in response to an array of legal challenges.

“This government should be ashamed that it even considered this evil idea”

Its rejection by the Supreme Court is now being hailed as “a day for national celebration” by LGBTQIA+ rights groups and activists.

Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, has been a longtime opponent of the policy.

“The Tories shouldn’t need a court to tell them that sending refugees thousands of miles away, to a country known for human rights abuses, is morally reprehensible. This government should be ashamed that it even considered this evil idea,” she told GAY TIMES.

“The judge confirmed today that not only is the Rwanda plan incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, but also the Refugee Convention, the UN Convention Against Torture, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“It’s time to stop playing politics with the lives of vulnerable people and instead create a functional asylum system with humanity and compassion at its heart.”

Leila Zadeh, Executive Director at Rainbow Migration, a charity that provides practical and emotional support for LGBTQIA+ people seeking asylum, said: “This is a day for national celebration. The judges at the UK’s highest court have stopped this trade in humans and many people in the UK who have fled unimaginable horrors can breathe a sigh of relief.”

Sebastian Rocca, CEO of Micro Rainbow, echoed this sentiment, but highlighted that the people the charity’s team works with are “still not safe”.

“Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s commitment to pushing ahead with the Rwanda plan risked turning the UK into a country famous for its cruel policies and attitudes towards people who need safety,” he said.

READ MORE: Home Office admits LGBTQ+ refugees sent to Rwanda may face “discrimination and intolerance”

“We, and everyone we work with, are very happy that it has finally been found unlawful. Our beneficiaries can take a breath of relief, but they are still not safe. Now is the time to build a humane and dignified immigration system that we can all be proud of.”

Sunak has vowed to explore next steps as the government remains “completely committed to stopping the boats” crossing the English Channel.

Elsewhere, the Rwandan government said it “takes issue” with the outcome: “We take our humanitarian responsibilities seriously, and will continue to live up to them.”