UK court hears appeals to stop Rwanda deportation flight

  • First UK-Rwanda migrant flight scheduled for Tuesday
  • UK says deportation policy will stop Channel crossings
  • Opponents say the regime is inhumane

LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) – London courts have begun hearing two last-minute legal challenges to block the British government’s deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda as the number of people on the first flight of remoteness fell to 11 on Tuesday.

Britain has struck a deal with Rwanda to send asylum seekers to Rwanda in return for an initial payment of 120 million pounds ($148 million) and additional payments based on the number of people deported.

The government says the deportation strategy will undermine smuggling networks and stem the flow of migrants risking their lives crossing the Channel in small boats from Europe.

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A human rights group says the policy is inhumane and will put migrants at risk. UNHCR said Rwanda, whose own human rights record is under scrutiny, lacks the capacity to process the applications.

Initially, some 37 people were to be deported on the first flight to Rwanda, but the number dwindled in the face of legal challenges to just 11.

The government has not provided details of those selected to be deported, but charities say they include people fleeing Afghanistan and Syria.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is determined to continue the policy despite legal challenges and opposition, including from Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne. Read more

“It’s very important that the criminal gangs who are putting people’s lives at risk in the English Channel understand that their business model is going to be broken and is being broken by this government,” Johnson told LBC radio.

“They’re selling people false hope and luring them into something extremely risky and criminal.”

The government has said the deportation plan will deter Channel crossings, although more than 3,500 people have reached Britain in small boats since mid-April when the Rwandan scheme was unveiled, according to reports. government figures.

As the hearings unfolded, around 35 migrants arrived in Dover, some carrying their belongings in black bags, where they were taken by British Border Force.

UN CONCERNS

The Court of Appeal began hearing arguments from two human rights groups and a union on Monday after a judge denied their request for an injunction blocking the flight’s takeoff.

The judge said on Friday that there was a “substantial public interest” in allowing the government to pursue this policy.” read more

Raza Hussain, the lawyer for some of the claimants, said the judge did not give enough weight to the concerns of UNHCR, which had warned that some asylum seekers could be sent back to a country where they risk being detained. persecuted.

Government lawyer Rory Dunlop said Tuesday’s theft was significant.

“It’s a policy that, if it works, could save lives and disrupt the pattern of traffickers,” he said.

If the claims win, that would realistically mean no flights could take place until a full trial on the program’s legality won’t take place for another six weeks, he said.

The High Court has begun hearing separately from refugee charity Asylum Aid, which has launched a second legal challenge to stop the government from sending refugees to Rwanda.

Charlotte Kilroy, a lawyer representing Asylum Aid, said asylum seekers had not had enough time to challenge their deportation, meaning there was a high risk of illegal and dangerous decisions.

That case is being heard by the same judge who on Friday denied granting an injunction.

($1 = 0.8121 pounds)

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Reporting by Andrew MacAskill Editing by Chris Reese and Angus MacSwan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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