This is a humiliating setback for the British government of Boris Johnson: despite its determination to expel migrants to Rwanda to deter illegal arrivals in the UK, the first scheduled flight on Tuesday night has been canceled following a last-minute appeal minutes.
This project, criticized by the UN, is very popular in the Conservative electorate, as Boris Johnson tries to restore his authority after escaping a vote of no confidence in his party. But after lawsuits, and an urgent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, the specially chartered plane for hundreds of thousands of euros was finally left on the ground.
Also read: Once again, Boris Johnson survived
British government “disappointed” but “not discouraged”
A turnaround that “disappointed” Interior Minister Priti Patel. “I have always said that this policy will not be easy to implement and I am disappointed that legal disputes and last minute claims have prevented today’s flight from taking off,” she said on Tuesday night.
The minister said it was “very surprising that the European Court of Human Rights intervened despite previous repeated successes before our national courts”. “We will not be discouraged from doing the right thing and implementing our plans to control our country’s borders,” she warned. flight and the preparation for the next flight begins now ”.
Read more: Prince Charles says he is “dismayed” by the sending of migrants to Rwanda
According to the Conservative Daily The Telegraphthe British government could reconsider its adherence to the European Convention on Human Rights in order to be able to implement its strategy, despite criticism, from the Anglican Church to Prince Charles who considers the project “appalling”, according to they Times. In the meantime, for the government the setback is scathing. The dailies Metro et The Daily Mirror evoke a “cruel prank” while the newspaper on the left The Guardian emphasizes the “chaos” caused.
An expulsion blocked by the ECHR
Authorities originally planned to deport as many as 130 migrants (Iranians, Iraqis, Albanians or Syrians) on the first flight, a figure that has plummeted as a result of various individual remedies.
And in a last-minute turnaround, the ECHR stopped the expulsion of an Iraqi asylum seeker on Tuesday night, taking a temporary emergency measure. A source of relief for migrant rights groups who consider the government’s project cruel and inhumane.
Massive relief that tonight’s planned flight to Rwanda will not be taking off.
– refugeecouncil (@Refugee Council 🧡)January 14, 2022
The ECHR ruled that the deportation of this Iraqi person should be postponed until the British judiciary has examined the legality of the bill, which is scheduled for July. In particular, it is a matter of ensuring that migrants have access to fair procedures in Rwanda and that Rwanda is considered a safe country.
In Rwanda, led by President Paul Kagame since the end of the 1994 genocide, which killed 800,000 people, the government is regularly accused by NGOs of cracking down on freedom of expression, criticism and opposition. politics.
A migrant resettlement program
With the plan to send asylum seekers to the UK in the East African country, more than 6,000 km from London, the government claims to be curbing illegal crossings in the English Channel. Since the beginning of the year, more than 10,000 migrants have crossed illegally to reach the British coast on small boats, an increase over previous years, already a record. Hundreds have arrived in recent days and Tuesday morning.
About this: The UK wants to send asylum seekers to Rwanda
Under an agreement with Kigali, London will initially fund a £ 120 million (€ 140 million) scheme. The Rwandan government has said it will offer migrants the opportunity to “settle permanently”. At a news conference in Kigali, government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said Rwanda would be “happy” to welcome “thousands of migrants.”
The Kigali government has rejected criticism that Rwanda is not a safe country and that serious human rights violations are commonplace. But Rwandan opposition parties are wondering if the resettlement program will work, given the high youth unemployment rate.
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