All 1 Debates between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Purvis of Tweed

Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Purvis of Tweed
Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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The Government are asking us to be the perpetual judge of the legislation and actions of another country. That puts the legislature in an unusual position. In fact, it puts it into a unique position, specifically for this country. I am not a judge on Rwandan legislation, policy or actions. I have been to Rwanda; I respect it greatly and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I have been massively impressed with the development of Rwanda that is in their hands.

The noble Baroness, Lady D’Souza, referred to the eloquent points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, and the noble Lords, Lord McDonald and Lord Cashman, with regard to torture. She told us that if we wanted to be a judge, we should speak to Victoire Ingabire, an opposition leader who is currently under house arrest. I have. I have been in her house, and I have asked her that question. Subsequent to my meeting the opposition member, officials of the Rwanda Government asked the hotel that I was staying at to inform on me. I am not a judge as to whether that means that Rwanda is a safe country. That is one example—I think, a bad example. It is probably an illustrative example. However, I am not a judge on that—our courts are. That is why we have them here.

We are asked not just to pass a “Rwanda is safe” Bill but to pass—

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
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I thank the noble Lord for giving way. I want to add to his experience that, the minute I had visited Victoire Ingabire, my phone was nicked.

Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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I am grateful to the noble Baroness. The Minister might see two examples and ask when it becomes a pattern. Again, I am not a judge for it. As I was saying, we are not just asked to judge that Rwanda is a safe country under this legislation but we are asked to agree to legislation that states that Rwanda will never be unsafe. How on earth can we possibly do that?

On Monday, the Minister found it incredibly difficult to determine that Rwanda is currently safe. I remind the Committee of his response—because it is worth reminding the Committee, if not him. My noble friend Lady Hamwee asked whether there would be safeguards in place to make Rwanda safe. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Stewart of Dirleton, said:

“My Lords, it is a matter of working towards having the safeguards in place”.

I then asked:

“If the Rwandan Government are ‘working towards’ putting safeguards in place, that means they are not currently in place. Is that correct?”

The noble and learned Lord said:

“It must do”.

That is the Government saying that it is not currently safe. Why is that important for this group of amendments? It is important because I later asked the Minister to confirm that

“no relocation would take place until those safeguards would be in place”.

The noble and learned Lord replied:

“I can answer the first part of the noble Lord’s question in the affirmative”.—[Official Report, 12/2/24; cols. 64-70.]

We know that there will be no relocation until safeguards are in place that Rwanda will be a safe country. The Minister was unable to confirm when that would be the case. However, the Bill is asking us not only to jump ahead of that but to deny courts from ever considering whether Rwanda could be unsafe. It is still quite hard to work out the rationality of where we are.