A day before the first planned deportation flight to Rwanda of asylum seekers who had entered the country illegally, British activists tried to prevent the controversial government plan. On Monday, an appeals court should decide on the admissibility of the flights. Refugee and human rights organizations and the PCS union, which represents British border guards, had complained about this. According to the government’s plans, the first flight with asylum seekers to Rwanda should take off on Tuesday.
Originally, 31 asylum seekers were to be flown to Rwanda on a chartered plane. According to the organization Care4Calais, the tickets of 20 of those affected have now been cancelled. However, the departure is still planned for eleven migrants, the organization said on Twitter. Among them are four Iranians, two Iraqis, two Albanians and one Syrian.
The British government has struck a deal with Rwanda to fly out illegal migrants to the East African country in exchange for payments. This is to deter people from trying to enter the UK illegally. On Friday, the British High Court approved the controversial project in an urgent decision. The plaintiff organizations immediately appealed, which will be decided on Monday.
Refugee and human rights organizations and the PCS trade union criticize the agreement as immoral, dangerous and counterproductive. According to a media report, the British heir to the throne, Prince Charles, had also condemned the project as “appalling”. According to observers, the human rights situation in the East African country is anything but ideal.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson again defended the agreement on LBC radio on Monday. “It is very important that the criminal gangs that are putting people’s lives at risk in the English Channel understand that their business model is being destroyed,” he said, referring to trafficking gangs.
PCS union boss Mark Serwotka pointed out that the High Court has scheduled a fuller hearing on the legality of the whole deal for next month as part of its decision on Friday. “Imagine being asked to do something on Tuesday that turns out to be illegal in July,” he told Sky News on Sunday, referring to the border guards who are responsible for the deportation flights. “That would be an appalling situation.”