An appeal court judge has refused to stop a Home Office flight carrying asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda from leaving this evening.
Yesterday, the Court of Appeal in London threw out last minute legal challenges to the British government's decision to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.
It follows a ruling by the High Court on Friday that the deportation flight can go ahead, despite a legal challenge by two refugee charities and a trade union and a separate legal challenge by Asylum Aid.
The government's plan to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful & unfair–plain & simple.
We launched a legal challenge to stop removals on 14 June & ensure all those seeking safety have access to a fair process. Support our vital legal action: https://t.co/Bw01o4it6v
— Asylum Aid (@AsylumAid) June 10, 2022
Under the £120 million ($150 million) scheme, migrants crossing the English Channel to seek asylum in the UK – which the government refers to as "illegal routes" – will be sent to Rwanda for processing.
The first group are set to leave tonight, despite the fact that the plan has been challenged by human rights organisations and politicians who highlight Rwanda's dire human rights record, including the forcible disappearance of dissidents, arbitrary detention and torture of political opponents.
A Ugandan refugee told Sky News that asylum seekers are being sent to their death.
An emotional Ugandan refugee has told Sky News that asylum seekers who will be departing for Rwanda tomorrow 'are being sent to their death'.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 13, 2022
The fight against the Rwanda deportation policy goes to the Court of Appeal today.
A chance to confirm our commitment to international law and to say clearly that it is in the public interest to have government ministers who act with morality.
Support refugees. Reject Patel.
— Howard Beckett (@BeckettUnite) June 13, 2022
A protest took place outside the Home Office yesterday evening.
— IMIX 🧡 (@IMIX_UK) June 13, 2022
Protest at the Home Office to stop the #Rwandaflight
— Socialist Worker (@socialistworker) June 13, 2022
Deporting refugees to Rwanda has *nothing* to do with tackling people-trafficking and *everything* to do with whipping-up hate and stoking division.
Ahead of the flight scheduled for tomorrow, I joined campaigners outside the Home Office demanding this inhumane policy is binned. pic.twitter.com/d7lcM7jBeM
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) June 13, 2022
Other politicians condemned the Rwanda plan.
We can afford to spend £46 billion per annum on defence but we cannot afford humanity for those who flee our bombs.
Support refugees. Stop the Government's Rwanda Plan
— Claudia Webbe MP (@ClaudiaWebbe) June 13, 2022
Yesterday's protest follows another demonstration which took place at an immigration removal centre near Gatwick airport on Sunday afternoon.
🚨 We are at Gatwick airport where a few hundred people have gathered to protest the Rwanda deportation flights.
There are vicars, doctors and charities all in attendance. pic.twitter.com/DFp8jrNE8A
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) June 12, 2022
Incredibly powerful scenes as people inside Brook House join in with chants of "No Rwanda! No Rwanda!"#Rwanda #StopRwandaFlight #StopThePlane #StopTheFlights #EndTheHostileEnvironment pic.twitter.com/RDRKSkzOqK
— SOAS Detainee Support (SDS) (@sdetsup) June 12, 2022
Despite mounting opposition, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the government's policy. "This is about making sure that we break the business model of criminal gangs."
"They're not only endangering their lives, they're ripping them off."
Boris Johnson says criminal gangs are "undermining people's confidence in legal migration" as he defends the policy to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda, adding there are "safe and legal routes" into the UK. pic.twitter.com/nq6L7iS1QB
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) June 13, 2022
He is an engine powered by lies. He says this as a law breaker, while publishing legislation allowing the government to break the law, in defence of a policy which targets those who have broken no law. https://t.co/SzVRqxCTVz
— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) June 13, 2022
Former Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal points out that the prime minister has a history of breaking the law, despite saying, "it's the government's job to stop people breaking the law".
Boris Johnson (with a history of breaking the law) talking about Rwanda:
"I do think it's the job of Government to stop people breaking the law and support people doing the right thing"
— nazir afzal (@nazirafzal) June 13, 2022
The charity Justice for Iran says a former Iranian policeman who testified against the regime and refused to shoot people protesting peacefully when fuel prices tripled will no longer be on the flight.
Meanwhile more removal directions are being cancelled. The charity Justice for Iran says an Iranian former policeman who testified against the regime in Tehran and sought asylum in Britain will no longer be on the flight.
— Callum May (@callummay) June 13, 2022
On Friday, 130 asylum seekers were told they would have to leave but the number is rapidly reducing because of legal challenges on modern slavery and human rights grounds.
BREAKING: Correction – ONE more Rwanda deportees has had their ticket cancelled. The current total number with tickets for tomorrow's flight is seven.
— Care4Calais (@Care4Calais) June 13, 2022
Today I had the most amazing phone call. A man who has suffered the worst torture I have ever had described to me has just had his ticket to Rwanda cancelled. For at least ten minutes we have both cried on the phone with total happiness and relief.
— Care4Calais (@Care4Calais) June 12, 2022
It was also reported that everyone could be pulled off the flight.
New: right now Home Office sources think that everyone could end up being pulled off tomorrow's flight – due to go to Rwanda.
— Anushka Asthana (@AnushkaAsthana) June 13, 2022
Many critics have asked why hosts in the UK are being paid to house Ukrainian refugees whilst other nationalities are being sent to Rwanda.
Really simple question. Why are we sending Afghan, Syrian refugees to Rwanda but paying UK citizens to house those from Ukraine? It's pretty black and white…
— Adil Ray OBE (@adilray) June 13, 2022
Rwanda asylum flight appeal refused.
This means vulnerable asylum seekers will be sent to Rwanda tomorrow.
White Ukrainian refugees can stay. Black and Brown refugees can't.
This policy is racist.
Get down to the home office to protest now! Rwandahttps://t.co/FHySgs78D7
— Star (@Star_BLM) June 13, 2022
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Glasgow says he's appalled and scandalised by the policy.
— STV News (@STVNews) June 13, 2022
The plan is a "moral failure", the Bishop of Manchester told Newsnight.
"This has probably reached a new low"
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) June 13, 2022
In a letter to the Times, the entire senior leadership of the Church of England denounced the "immoral" Rwanda scheme "that shames Britain."
BREAKING: The entire senior leadership of the Church of England (every bishop in the House of Lords) has joined to decry the Rwanda scheme as "an immoral policy that shames Britain" in letter to @TheTimes https://t.co/HUIciprbGu
— Kaya Burgess (@kayaburgess) June 13, 2022
Whilst former refugee and now a doctor, Waheed Arian, points out that most refugees integrate and contribute once given safety.
Refugees flee conflict & persecution. Most integrate & contribute once given safety.Those to be deported on Tuesday won't have same chance as I got coming to UK from Afghanistan.
I would be sent to Rwanda if I had come now as I also took 'unofficial' route, the only 1 available. pic.twitter.com/tlHLj8BB9L
— Dr Waheed Arian 🧡 (@DrWaheedArian) June 12, 2022