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 insisted that the program was intended to disrupt people-smuggling networks and deter 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 High Commissioner for Refugees. A small crowd of protesters gathered in front of the court on Monday.
UNHCR Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi condemned the British government’s plan during a press conference in Geneva on Monday.
“We think it’s all wrong. It’s all wrong, this deal. For a lot of different reasons,” he said.
While Grandi added that the UK was a signatory to the Refugee Convention, he said, “Exporting this responsibility to another country goes against any notion of responsibility-sharing in international responsibility.”
He also questioned the rationale for deportation in the UK, adding: “I mean, saving people from dangerous journeys is great, it’s absolutely fantastic. But is this the right way to do it? Is that the real motive for this deal to happen? I don’t think so. .”
Grande said the UK had made his agency’s work “extremely difficult” and expressed concern that other countries might want to follow suit.
“what will I say [other countries] If they say you know, a rich country like the UK, sends them abroad, I’ll do the same. I will close my borders, I say, you know, I want to save them from a perilous journey and they can go to another country. The precedent set by this is disastrous for a concept that must be shared, such as asylum, Grandi said.
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a separate legal case brought by the charity Asylum Aid. Asylum Aid was seeking an urgent injunction to halt the flight to allow a judicial review of the plan.
Judge Swift rejected the refugee organization’s request, saying the balance of convenience remained and “nothing said to make him reconsider”.
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”.
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 called “anonymous supposed private conversations with the Prince of Wales”.
Arnaud Siad, Lauren Said Morehouse, Sharon Braithwaite, Zahid Mahmoud, Elisa McIntosh, Rob Idols, Niamh Kennedy, Max Foster, Jorge Engels and Chris Liakos contributed reporting.
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