Sunday, June 26, 2022

Rwanda’s deportation plans to go ahead as the Supreme Court dismisses an attempted injunction by activists

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The Supreme Court’s decision comes after the Home Office announced last month that the first asylum seekers to be sent to Rwanda will leave on Tuesday under its new immigration policy

But the home secretary has been accused of making a “false claim” that the UN refugee agency supported her controversial plan to send people to the east African country to act as a deterrent to asylum-seekers crossing the English Channel in small boats.

Priti Patel has been given a major boost in her attempt to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda for the first time next week after a judge said a scheduled flight could go ahead on Tuesday.

In the High Court on Friday, Mr Justice Swift rejected an application by activists and a union representing Border Force workers for an injunction to stay the policy while the judicial review is heard.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear another challenge to the policy on Monday, brought by refugee agency Asylum Aid and backed by fellow campaign group Freedom From Torture, which could ground the flight on Tuesday.

Up to 130 people, including Afghans, were notified that they could be deported.

The court heard 31 people were due for the first flight on Tuesday, with the Home Office planning to schedule more this year.

Lawyers for nearly 100 migrants have filed legal challenges, asking to stay in the UK, and the rest are expected to follow suit shortly.

The first phase of the lawsuit, filed by lawyers on behalf of two migrants along with the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents more than 80 percent of Border Force personnel, and groups Care4Calais and Detention Action Who, began on Friday was challenging politics on behalf of all concerned.

Raza Husain QC, for the plaintiffs, told the Supreme Court that a Home Office document used by the department in the case suggested that UNCHR had “given the green light to this plan” but that this was “misleading”. .

UNHCR has a number of concerns about the asylum process in Rwanda, including discriminatory access to asylum — including for LGBT people — a lack of legal representation and interpreters, and difficulties with appeals, the court said.

Mr Husain said: “These are concerns that have been communicated to the UK authorities and yet the position of the Foreign Secretary is … that UNHCR has given the green light to this plan.

“That is a false claim.” Laura Dubinsky QC for UNHCR, which is involved in the lawsuit, said there were “inaccuracies” in the way the agency’s views had been described by the Home Office.

She told the court that the agency was concerned about the risk of “serious, irreparable harm” being done to refugees sent to Rwanda, adding that the body “is in no way endorsing the UK-Rwanda agreement.” “.

“UNHCR is not involved in the UK-Rwanda deal despite claims to the contrary by the Foreign Secretary,” she later said.

Calling for an evidence-based review of the policy, Mr Husain said Rwanda’s asylum procedures are “not secure” as authorities often “arbitrarily denied access” and there are concerns about “the impartiality of decision-making”.

Meanwhile, those who are not from countries neighboring Rwanda have had a high number of rejected applications.

Mr Husain said this includes asylum seekers from Syria, who are widely accepted by the UK system.

“The process is simply unsafe,” he added.

Home Office lawyers argued in written submissions that there is “a strong public interest in ensuring that these deportations go ahead as planned” and a “clear public interest in preventing dangerous travel and the activities of criminal smugglers.”

The papers also revealed that the Home Office has already overturned deportation orders for three people who had asked the Supreme Court to block their deportation to Rwanda.

It emerged at the hearing that two other people will also have it canceled. Judge Mr Justice Swift said the final hearing in the case would be in July.

Welcoming Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, Priti Patel said the government will now “continue to advance our world-leading partnership on migration”.

She said: “People will continue to try to prevent their resettlement through legal challenges and last-minute demands, but we will not be deterred from interrupting the deadly human smuggling and ultimately saving lives.

“Rwanda is a safe country and has previously been recognized for providing a safe haven for refugees – we will continue preparations for the first flight to Rwanda, alongside a range of other measures aimed at reducing small boat crossings.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “Lovely news from the High Court today.

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