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United Kingdom | Deportation of migrants to Rwanda authorized by justice

(London) A few days before the first planned departures, the British justice system on Friday authorized the government’s controversial plan to send asylum seekers back to Rwanda, rejecting the appeal of human rights associations.

Posted at 2:10 p.m.
Updated at 3:11 p.m.

James PHEBY
France Media Agency

London High Court Judge Jonathan Swift, who was hearing the case as a matter of urgency, said it was “important in the public interest that the Home Secretary be able to implement orders to control the immigration “.

The plaintiffs, including the associations Care4Calais and Detention Action, have lodged an appeal, which will be heard on Monday on the eve of a first flight transporting around 30 asylum seekers to the East African country, to the chagrin of the UN and refugee aid associations who denounce an “illegal” policy.

On Monday, the High Court is also due to hear another appeal, brought by the refugee aid association Asylum Aid.

James Nichol, lawyer and administrator of the Care4Calais association, denounced a “brutal” policy targeting “people who come from war-torn countries” and “are already traumatized”.

Sonya Sceats, chief executive of Freedom From Torture, also expressed her “disappointment”, but stressed that the fight was “far from over”.

Although she expects further legal action, Interior Minister Priti Patel has expressed her determination to implement this strategy which, according to her, must “ultimately save lives”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured him that this would help “break the business model of these ruthless criminals”.

“Diversion”

By sending asylum seekers more than 6,000 kilometers from London, which recalls the policy pursued by Australia, the government intends to deter illegal arrivals in the country, which are ever more numerous.

Since the start of the year, more than 10,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel illegally to reach British shores in small boats, a considerable increase on previous years, which were already record highs.

The Bishop of Dover, one of the towns in southeastern England where migrants arrive after crossing the Channel, Rose Hudson-Wilkin, expressed her “shame of being British” and her “anger”.

“We are creating a two-tier refugee system. […] If you look a little different, then we don’t want you here, you go to Rwanda. It’s wrong,” she told Times Radio.

This project is also seen by the Labor opposition as an attempt to “divert” from the political scandals weakening Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

During the hearing, the UN strongly condemned the government’s strategy through the voice of its lawyer. Representing the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Laura Dubinsky said the UN agency was concerned about the risk of “serious and irreparable harm” caused to refugees returned to Rwanda, and “in no way approved of the Anglo arrangement. -Rwandan”.

“The UNHCR is not involved in the arrangement between the UK and Rwanda, despite claims to the contrary by the Minister of State,” she stressed, accusing the government of lies.

According to the organization Care4Calais, 35 Sudanese, 18 Syrians, 14 Iranians, 11 Egyptians, but also 9 Afghans who fled the Taliban are among the more than 130 asylum seekers who have been notified of their possible departure.

Other scheduled flights

British government lawyer Mathew Gullick said 32 migrants are to be flown to Rwanda next week and more flights are expected to follow.

Rwanda, ruled by Paul Kagame since the end of the 1994 genocide which killed 800,000 people, according to the UN, is regularly accused by NGOs of repressing freedom of expression, criticism and political opposition.

On Friday, 23 NGOs called on Commonwealth leaders to put pressure on Rwanda, which is hosting a meeting of the organization from June 20, to release critics of power and allow greater freedom of expression.

However, the British Home Office says it is “determined” to implement its project, insisting that it is “fully in accordance with international and national law”.

The government has hinted that asylum seekers could settle permanently in Rwanda.

At the Hope Hostel in Kigali, which is preparing to welcome them, the manager stressed that his establishment “is not a prison”, but a hotel whose residents will be “free” to leave.

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