The House of Lords International Agreements Committee has today launched an inquiry into the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UK and Rwanda on an Asylum Partnership and is issuing a call for evidence.
The committee is particularly interested in the implications of using an MoU as a vehicle for relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda and whether the MoU is consistent with the UK’s obligations under both domestic and international law.
Questions the committee is seeking evidence on include:
Is an MoU the appropriate vehicle for this Agreement?
What are the implications of an agreement that asserts that it is not binding on either Party in international law?
Is the MoU consistent with current UK domestic law, or does UK legislation require any amendment to implement the MoU?
Is the MoU consistent with the UK’s obligations under international law, including the 1951 Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings?
The deadline to submit evidence is Wednesday 20 July 2022, with the full call for evidence available on the committee’s website.
Baroness Hayter, Chair of the International Agreements Committee said:
The UK-Rwanda Asylum Partnership was agreed as an MoU, rather than as a treaty, and is therefore not covered by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, meaning it doesn’t have to be laid in Parliament for scrutiny or debate. While it is not classed as a treaty and may not be legally binding on the Parties, it has significant human rights implications, and there are questions over its compatibility with the UK's obligations, particularly under international law.
Although the MoU has not been formally presented to Parliament for scrutiny, it is nevertheless my committee’s duty to scrutinise such an important international agreement. We are therefore launching our inquiry today, calling on witnesses to submit written evidence.