HomeWorld NewsUK-Rwanda flights: Judge clears first flight sending asylum seekers to Rwanda

UK-Rwanda flights: Judge clears first flight sending asylum seekers to Rwanda

The British government announced in April that it had reached a deal to send asylum seekers to the East African country, in a move it said was aimed at disrupting smuggling networks and deterring migrants to cross the dangerous English Channel to England from Europe.

A challenge to block deportation flights has been launched by human rights groups Care4Calais and Detention Action, as well as the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), a union representing civil servants in the UK Department of Health. Interior, and some asylum seekers threatened with deportation to Rwanda. . They claimed UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s policy was ‘unlawful on several grounds’ and sought an injunction to stop the plane from taking off.

The plaintiffs also challenged Patel’s legal authority to carry out the deportations, the rationality of his assertion that Rwanda is generally a “safe third country” given its human rights record, the adequacy of malaria prevention in the country and the conformity of the policy with the European Union. Human Rights Convention.

But Judge Swift rejected the activist’s urgent injunction in the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday, saying that on the ‘balance of convenience’ there was a ‘material public interest’ in allowing the flights to continue while judicial review was ongoing.

Both Patel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the court’s decision on Friday. “We cannot allow traffickers to put lives at risk and our world-leading partnership will help break the business model of these ruthless criminals,” Johnson said on Twitter.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel shakes hands with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Birutaare after signing the partnership agreement during a joint press conference in Kigali, Rwanda, April 14.

Rights groups have vowed to keep fighting. Care4Calais said it was granted permission to appeal the decision on Monday “because we are deeply concerned for the welfare of those who may be forcibly deported to Rwanda, a fate that could profoundly harm their mental health and future. “said the founder of the human rights group. Clare Mosley said in a statement.

“Today was just the beginning of this legal challenge. We believe that the next step in the legal process could put an end to this totally barbaric plan,” she added.

The UN Refugee Agency and other international human rights groups have also opposed the plan, arguing that it would increase risk and cause refugees to seek alternative routes, which would exert increased pressure on frontline states.

Two days before the High Court ruling, Detention Action deputy director James Wilson said in a statement that Patel had “overstepped his authority” in his “desire to punish people seeking asylum by forcing them to take a plane to Rwanda”.

“By rushing into what we say is an illegal policy, it turns a blind eye to the many clear dangers and human rights abuses it would inflict on asylum seekers,” Wilson added.

“Dig for the Fight”

The High Court ruling came as Johnson faces increasing scrutiny from MPs to prove the policy’s success.

Johnson told the Daily Mail he expected strong legal opposition to the policy, but said the government would “engage in the fight”.

‘We are ready for this. We’ll dig in for the fight – we’ll make it work. We have a huge flowchart of things we need to do to sort this out with Leftie’s lawyers,” he said in an interview in May. He added that 50 people had already received notices warning them that they risked being deported to Rwanda.

The government said the plan to send people to Rwanda would initially cost £120m ($158m), with funding provided to support the delivery of asylum operations, accommodation and “integration “.

The Interior Ministry announced on June 1 that people who had undertaken “dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys, including crossing the English Channel” were among those who had received notices of removal to Rwanda. “While we know that attempts will now be made to thwart the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and will remain fully committed to meeting the expectations of the British public,” Patel said in a statement.

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The plan also faces a second legal challenge from refugee charity Asylum Aid, which on Thursday sought an urgent injunction to stop any flights from leaving.

Ahead of Friday’s ruling, Care4Calais’ Mosley told CNN the charity was working with more than 100 people who had received notices. Many have fled persecution or conscription in their home countries to seek a better life in Britain and are terrified of being sent to Rwanda.

“So many of them have told me that I would rather die than be sent to Rwanda,” Mosley said in an interview in the French port city of Calais, where the charity provides assistance to refugees living in and around town.

Many asylum seekers continue to travel to Calais, where a camp known as ‘The Jungle’ attracted global media attention at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015, before being demolished by the authorities the following year.

Thousands of people risk the dangerous journey across the English Channel every year, a relatively narrow waterway between Britain and France, and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

More than 10,000 people have crossed the Channel in rickety little boats so far this year, according to analysis of government data by the PA news agency. Last year, more than 28,000 made the crossing.

CNN’s Nada Bashir and Joseph Ataman contributed to this report from Calais.

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