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United Kingdom | Justice validates plan to deport migrants in Rwanda

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(London) British justice gave the green light on Monday to the deportation to Rwanda of asylum seekers who arrived illegally in the United Kingdom, a highly controversial project that the government wants to deploy as soon as possible.

The Conservatives have made the fight against illegal immigration, one of the Brexit promises, one of their priorities.

Migrants have never been so numerous to cross the Channel on small boats. Since the beginning of the year, around 45,000 have thus arrived on the English coast, compared to 28,526 in 2021. And four migrants, including a teenager, lost their lives attempting the crossing on December 14, a little more than a year after the death of 27 people in similar circumstances.

In April, the government of Boris Johnson had reached an agreement with Kigali to deport to Rwanda asylum seekers, wherever they come from, who arrived illegally on British soil. A policy intended to discourage Channel crossings, but which has been widely criticized and challenged in court.

On Monday, the High Court in London ruled the device “legal” and found that the provisions planned by the government do not contravene the Geneva Convention on refugees.

No deportation has yet taken place: a first flight scheduled for June was canceled after a decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which called for a thorough review of this policy. Justice having rendered its decision, the government of Rishi Sunak now wants to hurry up.

Deportations to Rwanda are “only part of our plan” against illegal immigration, the head of government nevertheless explained to British television, nearly a week after announcing a vast package of measures, aimed in particular at reduce the number of backlogs. He promised a “system where if you come to the UK illegally you have no right to stay”.

The very right Interior Minister Suella Braverman, who had expressed her “dream” of seeing migrants deported to Rwanda, highlighted her desire to implement this project “as soon as possible”.


PHOTO JESSICA TAYLOR, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Interior Minister Suella Braverman

“And we are ready to defend ourselves again against any legal action,” said the boss of the “Home Office”.

Considered appeal

Justice, on the other hand, asked the Ministry of the Interior to review its copy concerning eight migrants who opposed their expulsion to Rwanda. The “Home Office” has not sufficiently examined their personal situations to determine whether there are elements concerning them which would oppose their deportation to Rwanda.

Opponents of the project greeted the judgment with disappointment and anger. Among the associations at the origin of this legal action, Care4Calais, whose founder Clare Moseley, expressed its determination that “no refugee be forcibly expelled” in Rwanda. The association, like Detention Action, plans to appeal this decision.

The civil servants’ union PCS (present in particular in the border police), considered that the government project remains “morally reprehensible and totally inhuman”, believing that an appeal must “seriously” be considered.

The Refugee Council said this “cruel” policy of equating “people seeking safety with human commodities” was damaging to the UK’s reputation as a country of human rights.

Amnesty International UK says it’s ‘shameful’ that after last week’s deaths, ‘the government refuses to recognize that the more it invests in cruelty, punishment and deterrence, the more people it puts at risk desperate people who have no safe option to get to the UK”.

The Labor opposition, for its part, judged the project “impractical”, “unethical” and “exorbitantly expensive”.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees even intervened in the case before the High Court, arguing that “the minimum components of a reliable and fair asylum system” are lacking in Rwanda and that such a policy would lead to of “serious risks of violations” of the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees.



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