Twenty UK deportation tickets to Rwanda cancelled, says charity

Twenty UK deportation tickets to Rwanda cancelled, says charity
Care4Calais, an organisation campaigning to overturn the UK-Rwanda migration deal, said twenty of those set to be deported on 14 June have had their tickets cancelled.
2 min read
13 June, 2022
The first deportation flight to Rwanda is due to take off on Tuesday. [Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty]

Twenty people due to be deported to Rwanda have had their tickets cancelled, a UK charity said on Monday. Eleven people are still at risk of being sent to Rwanda on Tuesday when the first deportation flight is scheduled to take off.

"Twenty people have had their Rwanda tickets cancelled but eleven still have live tickets for tomorrow," Care4Calais, a UK-based charity supporting migrants at the French-English border, wrote on Twitter on Monday. "We pray that the courts act today to stop this cruel and barbaric plan."

It is not clear who cancelled the deportees' tickets and on what basis. 

A British judge on Friday rejected an emergency bid to block deportation flights of asylum-seekers. Refugee rights organisations, including Care4Calais, said they will appeal the ruling.

Protests have erupted in recent days to cancel the 14 June flight and overturn the migratory deal signed by the UK and Rwanda on 14 April.

Under the deal, Rwanda agreed to process the asylum claims of migrants who arrived illegally on UK soil after 1 January 2022 (subsequently reported to 9 May). In exchange, the UK committed to investing £120 million ($157 million) in the small East African nation.

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The deal was decried as 'cruel' and 'inhumane' by human rights organisations. Already, several suicide attempts have been recorded among those who fear being targeted by the scheme.

A 27-year-old Syrian man, who received a ticket to Rwanda and risks being separated from his 16-year-old brother, said he would take his own life rather than board the flight. 

Under the scheme, those granted asylum by Rwanda – the most densely populated country in Africa – are expected to remain there, despite concerns about its poor human rights record. The fate awaiting those who do not receive asylum is unclear.

The government said it had issued deportation notices to another 100 people, beyond the 31 initially due to leave on Tuesday's specially chartered flight from an undisclosed airport in the UK.