The UK government announced in April that it had agreed to a deal to send asylum seekers to the East African country. The asylum seekers would then be allowed to resettle in Rwanda.
The government insisted the program was intended to disrupt people-smuggling networks and prevent migrants from taking the dangerous sea voyage from France to England.
The plan sparked a wave of criticism from charities, religious leaders and international human rights groups, including the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). A small crowd of protesters gathered in front of the court on Monday.
UNHCR Commissioner Filippo Grandi condemned the British government’s plan during a news conference in Geneva on Monday.
“We believe it’s all wrong. It’s all wrong, this deal. For many different reasons,” he said.
Grundy said the UK was a signatory to the Refugee Convention, saying, “Exporting that responsibility to another country is contrary to any notion of international responsibility sharing responsibility.”
He also cast doubt on the UK’s justification for deportation, saying: “I mean saving people from dangerous trips is great, absolutely great. But is this the right way to do it? What’s the real motivation for this deal to happen? Is it? I don’t think so.”
Grandi continued that the UK had made the work of his agency “too difficult” and expressed concern that other countries would like to follow suit.
“What am I going to tell [other countries] If they say you know, a rich country like UK is sending them abroad, I will do the same. I’ll close my border, I say, you know, I want to save them from a dangerous journey and they can go to another country. The precedent it creates is devastating for a concept that needs to be shared, such as refuge,” said Grandy.
A separate legal case brought by the asylum aid charity is also being considered by the high court on Monday. Asylum is seeking an immediate injunction to stop the flight to allow a judicial review of the aid plan.
According to data from the UK Ministry of Defense, 28,526 people arrived in Britain on small boats in 2021.
The legal challenge to block deportation flights was brought by human rights groups Care4Calais and Detention Action, along with the Public and Commercial Services Association (PCS), a trade union representing some UK Home Office workers who are forced to move out. will be responsible for Deportations, as well as many of the asylum seekers, are facing deportation to Rwanda.
The organizations claimed that the policy was “unlawful on several grounds”, and sought an injunction to prevent the aircraft from taking off. A full court hearing on whether the plan is legal is due next month. Three groups argued that there should be no deportation flights prior to that hearing.
He also challenged the legal right to execute Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel, the “rationality” of her claim that Rwanda is generally a “safe third country”, its human rights record, and the country’s efforts to prevent malaria. adequacy and whether the policy complies with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The head of the PCS, Mark Cervotka, said in a statement that the union is “deeply disappointed by today’s decision, and the position in which it places our members, who will have to carry out these forced expulsions.”
“Today’s decision does not make the eviction legal – it will be decided next month. In the meantime, our members are being instructed tomorrow to do something that may be illegal in a few weeks,” he said.
Separately, Detention Action also said it was disappointed with the decision.
It is unclear how many people will be on the first flight on Tuesday, as many of the deportees face their own personal legal challenges.
Care4Calais said on Friday it was working with 113 people who were facing deportation to Rwanda. The charity said on Monday that only eight of the 31 people initially due to be deported in the country on Tuesday were to be deported, after 23 had “their Rwanda tickets cancelled.”
Raza Hussein, representing the coalition that launched the appeal, told the court that a man who was on the flight on Tuesday received a ruling on Monday that he would still be deported despite being the victim of torture. That “Rwanda has a functioning health care system and does not pose any problems.”
British newspaper The Times reported on Saturday that heir to the throne, Prince Charles, privately described plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as “horrendous”.
“He said he was more disappointed with the policy,” the Times quoted an unnamed source as saying. “He said he thinks the whole approach of the government is appalling.”
CNN has not independently confirmed the Times report. Clarence House did not deny the report, but said it would not comment on “an alleged anonymous private conversation with the Prince of Wales”.
CNN’s Arnaud Siad, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Sharon Braithwaite, Zahid Mahmood, Eliza McIntosh, Rob Idioles, Niamh Kennedy, Max Foster, George Engels and Chris Liakos contributed reporting.