Rwanda. Two asylum seekers have their deportation delayed hours before the first scheduled flight out of the UK | Political news



Two asylum seekers due to be deported on a flight to Rwanda this evening have had their exit from the UK postponed following last minute legal appeals.

A Boeing 767-300 is ready on a Ministry of Defense runway at Boscombe Down in Amesbury to take the first migrants to the East African country later this evening.

But the European Court of Human Rights has granted an urgent interim measure blocking the removal of an Iraqi detainee who was to be deported.

The court told the UK government that the applicant should not be deported to Rwanda until three weeks after the final domestic decision was issued in his ongoing judicial review proceedings.

Johnson hints UK may withdraw from European Convention on Human Rights – Reuters

Sky News understands that another Iraqi detainee, who was also due to be on tonight’s deportation flight, will not be on the plane following a higher court order preventing his departure.

It is also believed that the government may try to counter calls this evening before the plane departs for Rwanda.

Learn more about migrant crossings

Challenges from four asylum seekers who were due to be on the flight were dismissed earlier.

A fifth man has lost an attempt to appeal to the Supreme Court after a three-judge panel denied him permission to challenge the Judgment of the Court of Appeal that the flight to Rwanda could take place.

This rejected an appeal from two refugee charities and the public and commercial services union.

Briefly outlining the reasons for the decision, the presiding judge, Lord Reed, said there had been an “assurance” that, if the government’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Rwanda were found to be unlawful, steps would be taken to bring all migrants flown back to the East African nation in the meantime.

Stop Deportations protesters took direct action to resist the first deportation flight, locking themselves in with metal pipes and blocking exits from the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Center at Heathrow, where other people the Department of the Interior intended to put on the flight to Rwanda would be held.

“This policy is the result of years of portraying migrants as less than human beings; it allows the Home Office to inflict pain on them and get away with it. ‘to accept cruel, inhumane acts and illegal plans,’ said an activist from Stop Deportations.

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The government will make an initial payment of £120million and there is no limit to the number of people who could ultimately be sent there.

Prime Minister pledges to “continue” with Rwandan policy

But Foreign Secretary Liz Truss insisted the flight to Rwanda would take off regardless of the number of people on board and said the program was both legal and “value for money”.

The plan to send individuals to Rwanda was challenged in court and condemned by leading Church of England bishops as “an immoral policy”.

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

The Prime Minister told broadcasters on Tuesday that the program “may take some time to work properly, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue”.

Asked if it would be necessary to opt out of the European Convention on Human Rights to limit legal challenges, Mr Johnson added: ‘Will some laws need to be changed to help us as we go along? and as it goes? It could very well be and all of these options are constantly being re-examined.”

It had previously been understood that seven asylum seekers were due to take the first flight from the UK to the East African country.

The number of people who must now board the plane is unclear.

The four would-be deportees who today lost bids from the High Court earlier today to avoid being put on the plane include:

• an Iraqi Kurd who suffered from PTSD in Turkey while traveling in the UK and filed a complaint asking not to be deported due to his mental health and his relationship with his sister, who lives in the UK United.

• A Vietnamese man who claimed to have received death threats from loan sharks in Vietnam, which was also denied after the judge dismissed an argument that he had been denied translation services.

• A man who traveled to the UK from Iran with his 21-year-old son and had asked the court to prevent his deportation on the grounds of his mental health and his right to a family life.

• a request from a Kurdish man who was also denied permission to appeal.

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Boris Johnson is not ruling out changing deportation law as the first flight to Rwanda prepares to leave the UK.

Truss rejects view that Rwanda plan ‘shames Britain’

Ms Truss earlier told Sky News she could not say exactly how many migrants would be on the plane due to take off tonight.

A Supreme Court and Court of Appeal the legal challenge brought by groups including Care4Calais against the first flight under the Rwandan scheme has failed, with reports putting the cost of the flight at £500,000.

The government has rejected this figure, but the cost of the eviction is estimated at hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Read more:
What is it like to be a refugee in Rwanda?
Why are migrants sent to Rwanda and how will it work?

Downing Street said the current approach was already costing the British taxpayer £1.5billion every year, with almost £5million a day spent on accommodation for asylum seekers in hotels.

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The Rwandan government spokesperson told Sky’s Shingi Mararike that many people have “misconceptions” about what Rwanda is.

Bishops criticize eviction policy

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York – along with 23 other bishops – have written a letter to The Times which says no attempt has been made to “understand the plight” of those affected.

Their letter said: “Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should put us to shame as a nation.

“The shame is ours, as our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have done for centuries.”

In Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Sky News asked the country’s government what it thought of the deportees saying they’d rather die to be sent there.

Spokesperson Yolande Makolo said: “We don’t see living in Rwanda as a punishment.

Last year more than 28,000 people crossed the English Channel in small boats – more than three times the number seen in 2020.

More than half were Iranian or Iraqi, with people from Eritrea and Syria also making the crossings, according to Interior Ministry figures.


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