Home Office cancels Rwanda deportation for three migrants


The Home Office cancelled the removal of three people who had asked the High Court to prevent their deportation to Rwanda, court submissions revealed.

The High Court in London is hearing the case of migrants and charities seeking to stop the first deportation to Rwanda set to leave on Tuesday, 14 June.

However, the court heard that the Home Office has urged for no other cancellations to be made.

Mathew Gullick QC, for the department, continued: “The defendant submits that no order for interim relief should be made – either at the individual level, to prevent the removal of the first claimant, or at the wider level sought by the claimants, i.e. to prevent the removal of any asylum seeker to Rwanda who has not provided ‘informed consent’”.

Raza Husain QC, for people and groups bringing the claim said: “The secretary of state’s conclusion as to the safety of Rwanda was irrational. I’m going to submit that we have a very strong case on that.”

Migrant groups have called the deportations ‘brutal’

(Getty Images)

He says the Home Office has suggested that the UN refugee agency has given the plan the green light, “This is misleading and incorrect,” he said.

The High Court was told that the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, had a number of concerns about the asylum process in Rwanda, including discriminatory access to asylum – including for LGBT people – a lack of legal representation and interpreters, and difficulties in appealing.

“The UNHCR has serious concerns that asylum seekers will not have access to a firm and fair procedure for the determination of refugee status,” Mr Husain added.

In a written submission, the Home Office said removal to Rwanda “pursues an important public interest, adding the deportations are “intended to deter” people from making dangerous small boat journeys to the UK to claim asylum.

Claire Moseley of Care for Calais said: “We believe the plan is unlawful, it’s not in line with refugee law or human rights law, its absolutely brutal and not the way to solve the problem in the channel.”

She added that “terrified” asylum seekers who have fled torture in their home countries are “begging” not to be sent to Rwanda. “We have spoken to nearly 100 people in detention who’ve been told they will be forcibly sent to Rwanda. Almost all are overwhelmed by total shock and despair.

“Many came to the UK believing it to be a good place that would treat them more fairly than the places from which they escaped.”

Kerry Smith, chief executive of Asylum Aid, which has also backed legal action said: “This government’s attempt to punish vulnerable people seeking asylum because it doesn’t approve of the way they reached our shores is simply unlawful.”


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