European Court Halts Britain’s First Refugee Shipment to Rwanda

European Court Halts Britain's First Refugee Shipment to Rwanda (News Central TV)

A last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights has stopped Britain its first deportation flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

This came after the court determined that there was “a real risk of irreversible harm” to the asylum seekers involved.

The flight had been scheduled to leave on Tuesday evening but attorneys for the asylum seekers launched a salvo of case-by-case appeals seeking to block the deportation of everyone on the government’s list.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an agreement with Rwanda in April to hand Rwanda millions of pounds in development aid, in exchange of migrants who entered Britain illegally.

European Court Halts Britain's First Refugee Shipment to Rwanda (News Central TV)
Nigerian Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana

Thereafter, the deportees would then be allowed to apply for asylum in Rwanda, not Britain.

The plan was seen modelled on Australia’s approach of detaining would-be asylum seekers on islands in the Pacific.

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss had said earlier in the day that the plane would take off no matter how many people were on board. But after the appeals, no one remained.

The decision to scrap the Tuesday flight is the climax of three days of frantic court challenges as immigration rights advocates and labour unions sought to stop the deportations.

Leaders of the Church of England joined the opposition, calling the government’s policy “immoral”.

Earlier in the day, Nigerian Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, had faulted the plan of the UK Government to send asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda.

European Court Halts Britain's First Refugee Shipment to Rwanda (News Central TV)

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Falana described the plan as unlawful and discriminatory, and requested that the UK halts it and complies with its international legal obligations.

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“I am writing to urge you to provide the leadership necessary for the UK government to immediately halt the patently unlawful and discriminatory plan to send asylum seekers and refugees who flee conflict and persecution to Rwanda, and to comply with the UK’s international legal obligations,” the statement read in part.

“I note that you announced on 14 April, 2022 that under the UK and Rwanda’s new migration and economic development partnership, “anyone entering the UK illegally, as well as those who have arrived illegally since January 1, may now be relocated to Rwanda…

“You will agree with me that the MoU cannot be justified under international law as both UK and Rwanda are states parties to the United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol,” it read.

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