The initial plan of the British government of Boris Johnson to send a flight with asylum-seeking migrants to Rwanda, 10,000 kilometers away from London, was abandoned after a last-minute ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Up to seven people who had irregularly arrived in the UK seeking refuge were expected to be transferred to the East African country an hour and a half before the flight took off, when a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in one of the seven cases allowed lawyers in the other six to successfully submit last-minute applications.
The decision is a significant blow to Boris Johnson and his Home Secretary, Priti Patel, who had promised to start sending thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda from May.
It also comes hours after the prime minister threatened to remove the UK from the ECHR and accused lawyers of aiding criminals who exploit refugees in the English Channel, which separates the British archipelago from the mainland.
However, in response to the decision, Patel said she was disappointed by what she called a legal challenge, criticized the ECHR ruling and said the policy would continue: “We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and sticking to our plans to control the borders of our nation,” he said.
Migrant rights organizations say that the British government is following a policy that they know is not viable and that it will not solve the problem of criminal gangs; but even so they paid the Government of Rwanda the equivalent of almost 145 million dollars, as an advance.
Starmer’s spokesman has declined to say whether Labor would cancel the Rwanda policy if in government, though deeply critical of the policy’s cost and efficiency. But he declines to clarify if Starmer believes it is morally wrong.
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot)
June 15, 2022
The failed flight, which cost the equivalent of about $600,000, had already been paid for with public funds, the government confirmed.
Refugee Council chief Enver Solomon said the British government should have a “grown-up conversation with France and the European Union about dealing with refugees, particularly in the (English) Channel.”
“Those threatened with expulsion are people who have fled war, persecution, torture and violence, many of whom have only been prevented from flying due to individual legal interventions declaring that doing so is a clear violation of their rights. human rights,” he said.
“The Refugee Council has also had to intervene directly to prevent teenagers from being transferred to Rwanda because they were falsely assessed as adults,” he said.
Europe has tightened its policy of expelling migrants and the United Kingdom has proposed sending them 10,000 km away, in Rwanda, to assess asylum applications.