Judges in London have rejected last-ditch attempts by human rights organizations and activists to prevent Britain from flying its first flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda on Tuesday, a plan called as “catastrophic” by the UN’s refugee head.

Britain would transfer some migrants who came illegally by crossing the Channel in tiny boats from Europe as part of an initial 120 million pound ($148 million) contract with Rwanda.

The Conservative administration in the United Kingdom claims that the deportation policy would undercut people-smuggling networks and reduce the number of migrants risking their lives at Channel crossings.

Due to legal obstacles, the number of persons slated to board Tuesday’s flight, which charity claimed initially comprised people escaping Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, and Iraq, had been reduced to less than a dozen.

On Friday, a High Court judge declined to give a temporary order to halt the flight, and three judges on the Court of Appeal affirmed that judgment on Monday.

Judge Rabinder Singh ruled that they could not meddle with the initial “clear and detailed” decision and denied further appeal. In July, a complete hearing to evaluate the constitutionality of the policy as a whole is scheduled.

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

Human rights groups argue the strategy is cruel and would endanger migrants. According to the UNHCR, Rwanda, whose own human rights record is under investigation, lacks the ability to assess the claims, and some refugees may be repatriated to the countries from which they fled.

“We believe that this is all wrong…for so many different reasons,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “The precedent that this creates is catastrophic for a concept that needs to be shared like asylum.”

Originally, 37 people were supposed to be transported on the first aircraft, but according to the organization Care4Calais, that number has been reduced to only eight. On Tuesday morning, three more people will have their cases heard at the High Court.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the government was committed to pursue the program despite legal challenges and resistance, including purportedly from Prince Charles, the heir to the British monarchy. more info

“It’s very important that the criminal gangs who are putting people’s lives at risk in the Channel understand that their business model is going to be broken and is being broken by this government,” Johnson told LBC radio.

“They are selling people false hope and luring them into something that is extremely risky and criminal.”

The government claimed that the deportation plan would discourage Channel crossings, despite the fact that more than 3,500 migrants had arrived in Britain in tiny boats since the Rwanda initiative was announced in mid-April, according to official estimates.

Approximately 35 migrants arrived at Dover during the court proceedings, some carrying their belongings in black bags, and were carried away by British border officials.

($1 = 0.8121 pounds)

Source: Reuters


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