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A specially chartered plane to send 130 migrants to Rwanda will not take off on Tuesday evening, following legal action and an emergency decision by the European Court of Human Rights. This measure, pushed by London, was sharply criticized. But the British government has assured not to be “discouraged”.
This is a humiliating blow to the British Government. Despite its determination to deport migrants to Rwanda to prevent illegal arrivals in the UK, the first flight scheduled for the evening of Tuesday 14 June was canceled after a last-minute appeal.
The British government claims to have stopped illegal arrivals from the English Channel, with its plan to send asylum seekers who arrived illegally in the United Kingdom to this East African country more than 6,000 kilometers from London. These crossings are on the rise despite their repeated promises to control immigration since Brexit.
The project, criticized by the United Nations, is very popular among conservative voters, while Boris Johnson tries to restore his authority after avoiding a no-confidence motion from his party. But after legal action, and an emergency decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the plane specifically chartered for hundreds of thousands of euros eventually remained on the ground.
Following this sudden turnaround, the Rwandan government said it was not “disappointed” by a flight cancellation. The African country is “ready to welcome migrants on their arrival and provide them with protection and opportunities” [le] country,” government spokesman Yolande Makolo said on Wednesday.
This face also “disappointed” British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who attacked the ECHR. “I have always said this policy will not be easy to implement and I am disappointed that legal challenges and last-minute claims have prevented today’s flight from flying,” she said Tuesday evening.
The minister found it “very surprising that the European Court of Human Rights intervened, despite previous successes before our national courts”. “We will not be discouraged from doing the right thing and implementing our plans to control our country’s borders,” he warned, however, adding that the government’s legal team “reviews every decision. On this flight And the preparation for the next flight begins now”.
Originally, officials planned to expel 130 migrants (Iranians, Iraqis, Albanians or Syrians) on this first flight, a figure that has been reduced after various individual appeals.
And at one last moment, the ECHR halted the deportation of an Iraqi asylum seeker on Tuesday evening, taking a temporary emergency measure. A source of relief for unions protecting the rights of migrants who consider the government’s project cruel and inhumane.
The Strasbourg-based ECHR ruled that Iraqi deportations should be postponed until a British court considers the legitimacy of the bill, which is expected in July. This is in particular to ensure that migrants have access to fair procedures in Rwanda and that Rwanda is considered a safe country.
“Attack on ECHR”
Associations or organizations supporting refugees welcomed the result, such as the Refugee Council, which expressed its “tremendous relief” on Twitter.
Big relief that the planned flight to Rwanda will not take off tonight.
— Refugee Council (@refugeeuncil) 14 June 2022
“We must now prepare to resist the Tory attack on the ECHR,” warned Scottish First Minister and leader of Scottish independence, Nicola Sturgeon.
According to conservative daily The Telegraph, the British government may reconsider membership of the ECHR to be able to implement its strategy, despite criticism, from the Anglican Church to Prince Charles, who see the project as “horrendous”. According to the Times.
Telegraph View: Opponents of the government’s Rwandan policy have labeled it “immoral”, “obscene” even “evil”.
What they have failed to provide is an alternative. https://t.co/m4DAT7xRqz
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) June 15, 2022
Meanwhile, this setback for the government is frightening. The dailies Metro and The Mirror produced an “excuse”, while the left-wing newspaper The Guardian outlined “anarchy”.
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