This is a setback for the British government: despite its determination to deport migrants to Rwanda, 6,000 kilometers away, to deter illegal arrivals in the UK, the first flight was canceled, following a decision in urgency of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The UN-criticized plan is hugely popular with Conservative voters as Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to restore his authority after escaping a vote of no confidence from his party. But after legal challenges, a decision of the European Court of Human Rights forced the plane specially chartered for hundreds of thousands of euros to remain on the ground. “Last ticket cancelled. NO ONE IS GOING TO RWANDA,” tweeted refugee support organization Care4Calais which had announced previous deportation cancellations.
Government sources confirmed to the British news agency PA that the planned plane would not take off due to last-minute interventions by the ECHR. Originally, the authorities planned to expel up to 130 migrants (Iranians, Iraqis, Albanians or Syrians) in this first flight, a figure which had continued to decrease following various individual appeals.
And in a last-minute twist, the ECHR stopped the deportation of an Iraqi asylum seeker on Tuesday evening, taking a temporary emergency measure. A source of relief for associations defending the rights of migrants who consider the government’s project cruel and immoral. The Strasbourg-based ECHR ruled that the deportation of the Iraqi should be postponed until a British court has considered the legality of the bill, which is expected in July. This is in particular to ensure that migrants can have access to fair procedures in Rwanda and that this country is considered safe.
UK government ‘undeterred’
While saying it expects appeals, the British government had nevertheless hammered in recent days its determination to carry out deportations to Rwanda. “There will be people on those flights and if they’re not on that flight, they’ll be on the next one,” Foreign Minister Liz Truss told Sky News earlier in the day. “We are not going to be deterred or embarrassed by any of the criticism in any way,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
After the ECHR ruling, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We will not be discouraged from doing the right thing and implementing our plans to control our country’s borders. »
Under its agreement with Kigali, London will initially finance the system to the tune of 120 million pounds (140 million euros). The Rwandan government has clarified that it will offer migrants the option of “permanent settlement”.
An “immoral” policy according to the Anglican Church
At a press conference in Kigali, government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo called the deal a “solution to a broken global asylum system”. “We don’t think it’s immoral to give people a home,” she added, indicating that Rwanda would be “happy” to welcome “thousands of migrants.”
“This immoral policy brings shame to the United Kingdom,” said in a letter published Tuesday by the newspaper The Times the spiritual leaders of the Anglican Church, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, that of York, Stephen Cottrell , and 23 bishops.
“The immoral people in this case are the traffickers,” replied Minister Liz Truss. Fueling the controversy, Prince Charles privately found the government’s plan “appalling”, the Times reported on Saturday, as he is due to attend a Commonwealth meeting from June 20 in Rwanda.