First British flight sends asylum seekers to Rwanda to move forward after appeal fails

The British government announced in April that it had agreed to a deal to send asylum seekers to the East African country. After that, those granted asylum are allowed to resettle in Rwanda.

The government maintains that the program was disrupting people-smuggling networks and deterring migrants from making the dangerous sea voyage across the Channel to England from France.

The plan sparked a wave of criticism from charities, religious leaders and international human rights groups, including the United Nations refugee agency. A small crowd of protesters gathered in front of the court on Monday.

On Monday, the Supreme Court will also hear a separate legal case brought by the charity Asylum Aid. Asylum Aid is seeking an urgent injunction to halt the flight to allow a judicial review of the plan.

According to UK Ministry of Defense data, 28,526 people arrived in the UK on small boats in 2021.

The legal challenge to prevent deportations has been brought by human rights groups Care4Calais and Detention Action, along with the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, a union representing some UK Home Office employees who will be responsible for carrying out deportations, as well as many Asylum seekers facing deportation to Rwanda.

The organizations claimed the policy was “unlawful on multiple grounds”, and sought an injunction to prevent the plane from taking off. A full court hearing is scheduled for next month on whether the plan is legal. The three groups argued that no deportation flights should take place prior to this hearing.

They also challenged British Home Secretary Priti Patel’s legal authority to implement the removals, and the “rationality” of her claim that Rwanda is generally a “safe third country”, given its human rights record, the adequacy of malaria prevention in the country and whether the policy complies with the European Convention. for human rights.

The party’s head, Mark Sirotka, said in a statement that the union was “deeply disappointed with today’s decision, and the position you put our members in who will have to carry out these forced removals.”

He added: “Today’s ruling does not make the removal legal – that will be decided next month. In the meantime, our members are being directed to do something tomorrow that may be illegal in a few weeks.”

Separately, Detention Action said it was disappointed with the ruling.

It’s unclear how many people will be on the first flight on Tuesday, because several individuals scheduled to be deported have launched their individual legal challenges.

Care4Calais said Friday it is working with 113 people facing deportation to Rwanda. The charity said on Monday that only eight of the 31 people initially scheduled to be deported to the country on Tuesday were still due to be deported after 23 “Rwanda tickets” were “cancelled”.

British judge allows first flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda to go ahead

Reza Hussain, who was representing the coalition that launched the appeal, told the court that someone who was due to be on the plane on Tuesday received a decision on Monday that he would still be deported despite being a torture victim, on grounds. That “Rwanda has an efficient health care system and it does not raise any issues.”

Britain’s Times newspaper reported on Saturday that Prince Charles, heir to the throne, privately described the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as “appalling”.

“He said he was more disappointed with this policy,” the newspaper quoted an anonymous source as saying. “He said he thought the entire government’s approach was appalling,” he added.

CNN has not independently verified the Times report. Clarence House did not deny the report, but said it would not comment on what it calls “anonymous supposed private conversations with the Prince of Wales”.

CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite, Zahid Mahmood, Elisa Mackintosh, Rob Idols, Niamh Kennedy, Max Foster, George Engels and Chris Liakos contributed to the report.

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