Flight canceled in Rwanda: Priti Patel criticizes European Court of Human Rights for challenging deportations

The first deportation flight to take asylum seekers to Rwanda has been canceled following a series of last-minute legal appeals, the Interior Ministry has confirmed.

A source said the plane, which was ready on a Ministry of Defense runway at Boscombe Down in Amesbury, would not take off due to “last-minute interventions by the European Court of Human Rights”.

Interior Minister Priti Patel said the government “will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans to control our nation’s borders” despite the first flight to Rwanda. stopped.

She also warned that “many of the flight retreats will be placed in the next one,” adding that she was “disappointed” that a legal challenge would mean she could not leave.

Ms Patel said: “It is very surprising that the European Court of Human Rights has intervened despite repeated successes in our national courts.

“These repeated legal barriers are similar to those we experience with other transfer flights, and many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next one.

“We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and offering our plans to control our nation’s borders. Our legal team is reviewing all decisions made about this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now.”

On Tuesday evening, it was confirmed that two people who were to be sent to the East African country had postponed their departure from the UK after the latest efforts by lawyers.

It was understood that the European Court, which had granted an urgent precautionary measure blocking the detention of an Iraqi detainee, was considering a number of additional requests.

It was believed that a total of seven people had to board the flight before the interventions were successful.

The challenges of four asylum seekers who had to go on the plane were rejected earlier.

A fifth man lost an offer to appeal to the Supreme Court after a group of three judges denied him permission to challenge the Court of Appeal’s decision that the flight to Rwanda could continue.

This rejected an appeal by two refugee charities and the Public and Commercial Services Union.

Giving brief reasons for the decision, the court president, Lord Reed, said there was a “guarantee” that if the government’s policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda was considered illegal, it would be they would take steps to return the migrants transported. in the East African nation during the interim.

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3:52 Rwanda: What is the government’s scheme?

Rwanda’s policy condemned as “immoral”

The plan to send people to Rwanda has been challenged in court and condemned by the great bishops of the Church of England as “an immoral policy”.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has maintained that the aim of the policy is to “support safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK and oppose illegal and dangerous routes”.

The prime minister told reporters on Tuesday that the program “may take a while to run properly, but that doesn’t mean we won’t continue.”

Asked if it would be necessary to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights in order to restrict legal challenges, Mr. Johnson added: “Will we need to change some laws to help us as we move forward? Maybe so and all that. The options are constantly being reviewed.”

Stop Deportations protesters had previously taken direct action to resist the first deportation flight, closing it with metal pipes and blocking the exits from the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Center at Heathrow.

This is where the remaining people believed to be on board the Interior Ministry were believed to have been detained.

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0:36 “We can change the laws” by Rwanda’s plan

The Prime Minister pledges to “continue” Rwandan politics

The PA news agency reported that it is understood that there is currently no way for the Home Office to appeal the decision.

In response to the stoppage of the flight, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, said: “The fact that the final flight could not take off is indicative of the inhumanity of the plan and the government’s total refusal to see the face behind the case.

“Threats of deportation are people who have escaped war, persecution, torture and violence, many of whom have only been prevented from flying because of individual legal interventions that clearly state a violation of their rights. humans “.

Mr Solomon continued: “The government must immediately rethink maintaining an adult conversation with France and the EU about sharing responsibility and trying to make an orderly, humane and fair asylum system work.”

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, added: “We are delighted that the courts have decided to stop this flight.

“It is time for the government to stop this inhumane policy that is the basis of gestural politics and begin to make a serious commitment to the resolution of the asylum system so that those who come to our country to seek refuge are treated fairly and in agreement. with the law “.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, tweeted: “Sending people fleeing violence to a country thousands of miles away was already cruel and cruel. It is now also potentially illegal.”

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29:19 Should migrants be sent to Rwanda?

The government urged “immediate reconsideration” of deportation plans

The four potential deportees who lost previous High Court bids to avoid boarding include:

• An Iraqi Kurd who had suffered from PTSD in Turkey while traveling to the United Kingdom and had filed a complaint requesting that he not be withdrawn because of his mental health and his relationship with his sister, who lives in the United Kingdom. Vietnamese man who claims to have received death threats from usurers in Vietnam, who was also denied after the judge rejected an argument that he was denied translation services • A man who traveled to the United Kingdom from Iran with its 21-year-old son and had asked the court to prevent his removal because of his mental health and the right to a family life • An application from a Kurdish man who was also deny permission to appeal.

A failed challenge by the High Court and the Court of Appeal filed by groups such as Care4Calais on the first flight under the Rwandan scheme resulted in the cost of deportation at £ 500,000.

The government has rejected this figure, but it is believed that the cost of the flight would have been hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Downing Street said the current approach already costs the UK taxpayer £ 1.5 billion each year, with almost £ 5 million a day spent on accommodating asylum seekers in hotels.

Last year, more than 28,000 people crossed the Canal in small boats, more than three times the number observed in 2020.

More than half were Iranians or Iraqis, with people from Eritrea and Syria also crossing, according to the Interior Ministry.

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