UK Rwanda deportation plan on hold until new Tory leader selected

UK Rwanda deportation plan on hold until new Tory leader selected
A controversial UK government policy to send asylum seekers to Rwanda has been paused until a new Tory leader is chosen following a High Court ruling to delay legal challenges to the scheme until September.
3 min read
12 July, 2022
Refugee campaigners hailed the decision to delay proceedings as a victory [source: Getty]

UK government plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda have been put on hold until a new Conservative Party leader is chosen, according to media reports on Tuesday. 

The High Court announced that a hearing into the controversial policy, denounced by critics as "inhumane" and "cruel", will be pushed back to September, rescheduling the original July 19 court date. 

By September, the UK Conservative Party will have selected a new leader following Boris Johnson's resignation, triggered by a series of scandals over his and his government's egregious behaviour.

Refugee campaigners celebrated the decision to delay court proceedings, saying it will give individuals affected by the policy more time to prepare. 

"This is a win for due process and fairness. Individuals affected and our legal teams now have the time they need to prepare their substantial cases," said Detention Action, a UK human rights organisation, on Twitter. 

Care4Calais, a charity working closely with asylum seekers stuck in limbo in northern France, said: "This is good news, as it gives us more time to prepare. 

"We are incredibly relieved to hear that those currently in detention must now be released." 

The UK Home Office is likely to have to release more than 50 migrants currently in detention waiting for a potential deportation order, reported The Times. Individuals can only be detained if there is a "reasonable" prospect of them being removed imminently. 

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The British government formally announced plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda in April, defending the policy as a way to tackle human trafficking. 

Last month, the first flight to the north African country was grounded at the last-minute due to an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).  Johnson's administration said they were undeterred by the ECHR ruling and would press on with implementing the policy. 

Following Johnson's resignation last week, all Conservative candidates bidding for the top Tory job said they supported the plan, with ex-Health Minister Jeremy Hunt suggesting new deportation locations could be explored. 

Organisations such as Care4Calais, Detention Action and other refugee campaign groups have denounced the scheme, saying it will target vulnerable people without offering safe, legal routes for asylum seekers to come to the UK.