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Friday, Jul 01, 2022

UK migrant deportations to Rwanda set to go ahead after NGOs lose legal challenge

The UK's controversial plan to deport migrants to Rwanda is going ahead despite a bid by NGOs to halt it.
A British judge rejected the emergency bid to block deportation flights of asylum-seekers to Rwanda set to start next week, ruling politicians must manage immigration policy.

Campaigners for the asylum seekers said the policy was unlawful and there should be no such flights ahead of a full hearing of the case later this year.

British charities including Care4Calais and Detention Action plan to appeal.

"This judgment is devastating for the refugees," said James Nichol, a lawyer and trustee for the charity Care4Calais.

"This is a brutal policy. We've got refugees, we've spoken to more than a hundred who have been given these notices that say they are going to be forcibly removed from the country.

"These are people who have come in, who are from war-torn countries, who are already traumatized, it simply adds to the agony and causes more trauma. It is an absolute scandal."

Despite the criticism, those preparing to accommodate migrants in Kigali claim they are ready to host them comfortably.

But such reassurances are not trusted by human rights activists.

Victoire Ingabire is president of the opposition 'Development And Liberty For All' party in Rwanda and said the UK were being hypocritical.

"Great Britain criticizes the Rwandan government on the subject of human rights, but at the same time, they send people to the country that they themselves argue does not respect human rights," she said.

"So it's the world turned upside down."

If no further action is successful, a first flight carrying around 30 asylum seekers who arrived illegally in the UK is scheduled for Tuesday.

Prince Charles has privately called the British government's plan to send illegal migrants back to Rwanda "appalling", The Times newspaper reported on Saturday.

The heir to the British crown reportedly said he was particularly bothered by the subject, fearing it would overshadow a Commonwealth meeting starting on June 20 in Rwanda, where he will represent his mother Queen Elizabeth II.

Clarence House, which manages Prince Charles' communications, did not deny the comments but insisted the heir to the throne was politically neutral.
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