UK High Court rejects bid to block deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda


The first flight to take asylum seeker boat arrivals in the United Kingdom to Rwanda can go ahead next week, the High Court in London has ruled after a judgedismissed campaigners’ attempts to win an injunction to stop it.Charities and a trade union had launched a challenge against the government’splan to send asylum seekers to the east African country, saying it was unsafe,but the court said next Tuesday’s first planned flight could take place.The first few dozen asylum seekers are due to be deported to Rwanda on 14 June.READ MORE”There is a material public interest in the Home Secretary (Priti Patel) beingable to implement immigration decisions,” Judge Jonathan Swift said.He said some of the risks facing the deported asylum seekers outlined by thecharities were small and “in the realms of speculation”.However, the court granted human rights groups permission to appeal the decisionMs Patel welcomed the decision.”We will continue preparations for the first flight to Rwanda, alongside therange of other measures intended to reduce small boat crossings,” she said.The government’s plan has led to an outcry from human rights groups, oppositionMPs as well as some in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party.During Friday’s hearing, Raza Hussain, the lawyer acting for Care4Calais,Detention Action and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), whichrepresents civil servants in Britain’s Home Office (interior ministry), said thescheme was unsafe and irrational.READ MOREMr Hussain said the government had made “misleading and inaccurate” claims that theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had given it the green light, andthat it was acting on false assurances about Rwanda’s ability to offerprotection to asylum seekers and process their claims.Government lawyer Mathew Gullick said the criticisms and concerns were backward-looking and did not reflect how the migrants would be treated.There was an “important public interest” in deterring asylum seeker boat arrivals, heHowever, during the course of the hearing, the court heard that a handful of theroughly 30 people due to be deported on Tuesday would not be removed.Clare Moseley, the founder of Care4Calais, said in total about 130 migrants -many from Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Iran – faced deportation.Last year, more than 28,000 migrants and refugees made the crossing frommainland Europe to the UK.READ MOREIn November, 27 people drowned in the Channel when their small rubber dinghydeflated, and many others have needed to be rescued from the narrow seaway, oneof the world’s busiest shipping lanes.Under the government scheme, anyone who arrived in the UK via an asylum seeker boat since 1 January could be relocated to Rwanda.The government hopes the plan will deter the Channel crossings, although morethan 3,500 people have reached the UK in small boats since the middle of April,when the Rwanda scheme was unveiled, according to government figures.Judge Swift said a full judicial hearing to decide on the scheme’s legality would takeplace before the end of July.Israel previously attempted a similar scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.But in 2018 the Israeli Supreme Court blocked the policy, saying it was notcompatible with the United Nations’ refugee convention.