Legal challenges from four asylum seekers who were to be deported on a flight to Rwanda this evening have been dismissed.
A Boeing 767-300 is ready on a Ministry of Defense runway at Boscombe Down in Amesbury to take the first migrants to the East African country this evening.
A Kurdish man had his bid to prevent his deportation to Rwanda dismissed by the High Court this afternoon by Justice Smith, who also denied him leave to appeal.
Challenges by three other asylum seekers were rejected earlier in the day.
Johnson hints UK may withdraw from European Convention on Human Rights – Reuters
A fifth man has lost an attempt to appeal to the Supreme Court after a three-judge panel denied him permission to challenge the Judgment of the Court of Appeal that the flight to Rwanda could take place.
This rejected an appeal from two refugee charities and the public and commercial services union.
Briefly outlining the reasons for the decision, the presiding judge, Lord Reed, said there had been an “assurance” that, if the government’s policy of returning asylum seekers to Rwanda were found to be unlawful, steps would be taken to bring all migrants flown back to the East African nation in the meantime.
Stop Deportations protesters took direct action to resist the first deportation flight, locking themselves in with metal pipes and blocking exits from immigration removal centers from Colnbrook to Heathrow, where others are thought to people whom the Ministry of Interior intended to put on the flight to Rwanda held.
“This policy is the result of years of portraying migrants as less than human beings; it allows the Home Office to inflict pain on them and get away with it. ‘to accept cruel, inhumane acts and illegal plans,’ said an activist from Stop Deportations.
But Foreign Secretary Liz Truss insisted the flight to Rwanda would take off regardless of the number of people on board and said the program was both legal and “value for money”.
The plan to send individuals to Rwanda was challenged in court and condemned by leading Church of England bishops as “an immoral policy”.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson maintained the aim of the policy was “to support safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK and to oppose illegal and unsafe routes”.
Prime Minister pledges to “continue” with Rwandan policy
Mr Johnson added that the program ‘may take a while to work properly, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to keep going’.
Asked if it would be necessary to opt out of the European Convention on Human Rights to limit legal challenges, Mr Johnson added: ‘Will some laws need to be changed to help us as we go along? and as it goes? It could very well be and all of these options are constantly being re-examined.”
Sky News understands that seven asylum seekers are due to catch the first flight from the UK to the East African country, which is due to take off tonight.
But at least one of the men is expected to file an urgent petition with the Court of Appeal, which will likely be heard out of hours by a single judge over the phone.
The four would-be deportees who today lost High Court bids to avoid being put on the plane include:
• an Iraqi Kurd who suffered from PTSD in Turkey while traveling in the UK and filed a complaint asking not to be deported due to his mental health and his relationship with his sister, who lives in the UK United.
• A Vietnamese man who claimed to have received death threats from loan sharks in Vietnam, which was also denied after the judge dismissed an argument that he had been denied translation services.
• A man who traveled to the UK from Iran with his 21-year-old son and had asked the court to prevent his deportation on the grounds of his mental health and his right to a family life.
• a request from a Kurdish man who was also denied permission to appeal.
Truss rejects view that Rwanda plan ‘shames Britain’
Lawyers discussed in court how the claimants could appeal the decisions if they were evicted. Any appeal would first be heard at the Court of Appeal and then an application could be made to the Supreme Court.
Ms Truss told Sky News she could not say exactly how many migrants would be on board the plane due to take off tonight.
But she rejected claims by Church of England leaders that the policy of placing asylum seekers on a one-way flight to East Africa “puts Britain to shame”.
A Supreme Court and Court of Appeal the legal challenge brought by groups including Care4Calais against the first flight under the Rwandan scheme has failed, with reports putting the cost of the flight at £500,000.
The government has rejected this figure, but the cost of the eviction is estimated at hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The purpose of this program is to deter people entering the UK illegally.
So far 92 adults and 12 children have been brought ashore by Border Force officials today after attempting to cross the English Channel. They said they were from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Policy is unworkable, Labor says
Mr Johnson hit back at lawyers challenging Cabinet policy this morning.
“What criminal gangs are doing and what those who actually encourage the work of criminal gangs are doing is undermining people’s faith in a safe and legal system,” the Prime Minister said.
What is it like to be a refugee in Rwanda?
Why are migrants sent to Rwanda and how will it work?
In Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Sky News asked the country’s government what it thought of the deportees saying they’d rather die to be sent there.
Spokesperson Yolande Makolo said: “We don’t see living in Rwanda as a punishment.
Labour’s shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell told Sky News: ‘We believe this policy is unworkable… it is incredibly costly. It will possibly cost upwards of a million pounds per refugee who fails or succeeds in getting to Rwanda. And we think that’s unethical – and quite un-British actually.”
Meanwhile, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York – along with 23 other bishops – have written a letter to The Times which says no attempt has been made to “understand the plight” of those affected.
Their letter said: “Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should put us to shame as a nation.
“The shame is ours, as our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have done for centuries.”
Last year more than 28,000 people crossed the English Channel in small boats – more than three times the number seen in 2020.
More than half were Iranian or Iraqi, with people from Eritrea and Syria also making the crossings, according to Interior Ministry figures.