In letters sent to asylum seekers by the Home Office, the Government said the UNHCR was “closely involved” in the scheme.
But the agency wrote a letter to Home Office minister Tom Pursglove, denying that this was the case.
It added: “We are also concerned by statements made in the letters indicating that UNHCR has not expressed substantial concerns with regard to the shortcomings in the capacity of the Rwandan asylum system.”
Speaking at the Royal courts of Justice, where a legal challenge was being brought against the policy, Laura Dubinsky QC, the barrister for the UNHCR, said the refugee agency was concerned about “inaccuracies” in Home Office claims about its involvement in the scheme, saying it “in no way endorses” it and had told the government it believed it to be “unlawful”.
Raza Husain QC said Patel had misrepresented the UNHCR’s position. “These are concerns that have been communicated to the UK authorities and yet the secretary of state’s position … is that the UNHCR has given this plan a green light. That is a false claim.”
The Home Office misled asylum seekers over the UNHCR’s involvement in the scheme.
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