UK Court of Appeal Approves Asylum Seekers’ Movement to Rwanda

Credit Zhao Zheming

The plan by the United Kingdom to transfer asylum seekers to Rwanda as early as Tuesday is set to proceed after the Court of Appeal in London upheld an earlier decision to deny an injunction to halt the first flight.

The British government announced in April that it had reached an agreement with the East African country to relocate asylum seekers there. Those granted refuge would then be permitted to relocate to Rwanda. Those migrants would remain in Rwanda if they were successful. Britain gave Rwanda a one-time payment of 120 million pounds ($158 million) and will make additional payments based on the number of persons deported.

After the High Court ruled on Friday that the first planned flight could take ahead, charities and a trade union filed an appeal against the government’s proposal to transfer asylum seekers to the East African country.

Opponents of the British government’s proposal to deport migrants to Rwanda are bracing for an appeals court hearing, following claims that Prince Charles had privately denounced the idea as “appalling.”

A coalition of organizations, including immigrant rights advocates and public employee unions, petitioned the Court of Appeal in London to overturn a lower court order that allowed the first deportation flight to take place as planned on Tuesday.

After an increase in such travels over the last two years, the program aims to discourage migrants from risking their lives by crossing the English Channel in small boats.

Human rights groups, however, argue that the strategy is illegal, immoral, and would only increase the hazards for migrants.

A second legal appeal was eventually dismissed at the High Court, with judge Jonathan Swift stating that everyone on the flight had been given access to a lawyer to fight their deportation.

The organizations argued that the policy was “illegal on several bases,” and they requested an injunction to prevent the jet from taking flight. A full court hearing to determine whether the proposal is legal is scheduled for next month. The parties contended that no deportation flights should take place prior to the hearing.

It is unknown how many people will be aboard the first aircraft on Tuesday because many of those set to be deported have filed their own legal challenges.

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