UK Home Office ‘planning new deportation flight to Rwanda’ despite legal challenge

UK Home Office ‘planning new deportation flight to Rwanda’ despite legal challenge
The British Home Office is planning a second deportation flight to Rwanda according to media reports, despite the legality of the policy still being challenged.
3 min read
26 August, 2022
The first scheduled flight to Rwanda was grounded at the last minute by the European Courts of Human Rights [source: Getty]

The UK Home Office is planning a second flight to deport migrants to Rwanda weeks ahead of a judicial review over the legality of the controversial policy, UK news outlets reported on Thursday. 

Newly arrived asylum seekers in British hotels received letters deeming their asylum claim "inadmissible" and warning that the Home Office intends to send them to the central African nation to have their application processed there, according to The Guardian

These "notices of intent" were issued ahead of a High Court hearing into the plan - due to start on September 5 - to determine whether the policy complies with UK law or not. 

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“This is shocking news,” wrote Care4Calais, a UK charity supporting asylum seekers. The organisation, alongside fellow charity Detention Action and the PCS union which represents Home Office staff and individual asylum seekers, is challenging the legality of the policy in UK courts. 

“It is now urgent that we come together to oppose this cruel policy,” Care4Calais said. 

The first flight scheduled to Rwanda was grounded on June 14 after a last-minute ruling from the European Court of Human Rights. A judge in Strasbourg said removals to Rwanda could not take place until UK domestic courts completed a full review of the policy. 

Earlier hearings linked to next month’s full judicial review have already revealed internal government objections to the scheme, including warnings about Rwanda’s poor human rights record.

One official memo from April this year said there was "limited evidence about whether these proposals will be a sufficient deterrent for those seeking to enter the UK illegally". 

The British government has championed the Rwanda policy as a post-Brexit shake-up which they say will deter “irregular” migration and break up people-smuggling gangs in the English Channel. 

Under the Home Office’s New Plan for Immigration, migrants who have travelled through a third safe country or taken "illegal" routes to the UK are eligible for deportation. 

Charities, such as Care4Calais, have instead called for safe humanitarian routes, such as those open to Ukrainian refugees, to stop people taking perilous journeys in small boats from France to Britain. 

This month has seen a record number of migrants undertaking the Channel crossing, with more than 500 crossing on Wednesday alone. 

The New Arab contacted the Home Office about these reports. 

They said: "Our world-leading Partnership with Rwanda is a key part of our strategy to overhaul the broken asylum system and break the business model of evil people smuggling gangs. 

“No court has ruled that this partnership is unlawful, and that includes the European Court of Human Rights.''