Human Rights Judges in Strasbourg BLOCK deportation of one of seven migrants on Rwanda flight

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Protesters gathered outside Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre in Heathrow and lay on the ground in an effort to halt tonight's first flight transporting UK asylum seekers to Rwanda


One of the seven migrants expected to be transferred to Rwanda this evening has had his removal called off following an urgent injunction from the European Court of Human Rights. 

It places the current number of UK asylum seekers due for removal on tonight’s first plane to Kigali at six, with speculation that other injunctions could imminently follow.

A group of around six protesters gathered this afternoon outside Colnbrook Detention Centre in Heathrow and lay on the ground in an effort to halt the flight, which is anticipated at around 9.30pm. 

The plane expected to make the journey has already appeared at MoD Boscombe Down – with defiant ministers vowing the flight will go ahead even if there is only one person on board. 

Two asylum seekers are understood to still be at Colnbrook. The exits outside of the centre were blocked as campaigners binded themselves together with metal pipes.

One activist said: ‘No one should be on this flight. No one should be deported under such racist and discriminatory policies. This flight represents the very worst of government legislation regarding refugees,’ The Guardian reports.

The protest group ‘Stop Deportations!’ has now issued an ‘urgent call out’ encouraging activists to head to Colnbrook to ‘resist this brutal regime’. 

The Boeing 767 aircraft making tonight’s flight was spotted earlier today at MoD Boscombe Down on the outskirts of Amesbury, Wiltshire. Ministers are vowing the flight will go ahead – even if there is just one passenger.

The Boeing is operated by Spanish charter firm Privilege Style and was seen landing at the MoD testing site earlier today. The company has a permit to fly from Stansted to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, at 9.30pm tonight, according to Civil Aviation Authority records.

The airline has not yet commented on the claims. The site is managed by QinetiQ, the private defence company created as part of the breakup of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 2001 by the UK Ministry of Defence.

Activists say just six of the original 130 people originally told they would be deported to Rwanda are expected to be on the aircraft. 

Protesters gathered outside Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre in Heathrow and lay on the ground in an effort to halt tonight's first flight transporting UK asylum seekers to Rwanda

Protesters gathered outside Colnbrook Immigration Detention Centre in Heathrow and lay on the ground in an effort to halt tonight’s first flight transporting UK asylum seekers to Rwanda

A minibus with outriders leaves Colnbrook, Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre, Heathrow this afternoon on the day a flight to Rwanda is due to leave carrying seven asylum seekers to Rwanda

A minibus with outriders leaves Colnbrook, Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre, Heathrow this afternoon on the day a flight to Rwanda is due to leave carrying seven asylum seekers to Rwanda

A minibus with outriders leaves Colnbrook, Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre, Heathrow this afternoon on the day a flight to Rwanda is due to leave carrying seven asylum seekers to Rwanda

The ECHR ruling stated: ‘In the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it… the applicant should not be removed until the expiry of a period of three weeks following the delivery of the final domestic decision in the ongoing judicial review proceedings.’

The High Court is due to hold a judicial review in July to decide on the legality of the Rwanda scheme.

A charity said the ECHR ruling could also mean the others earmarked to go to Rwanda would not now be deported.

‘This means it is now possible for the other six to make similar claims. We are so relieved,’ Clare Moseley of the charity Care4Calais.

Four men who challenged their removal at the High Court in London had their cases dismissed today, while a fifth man lost a bid to bring an appeal at the Supreme Court. 

The result of the hearings mean the flight is expected to be leaving the UK for the east African nation tonight with six people on board. 

Baroness Chakrabarti, former director of Liberty and former Labour shadow attorney general, said that a ‘substantive judicial review’ of the Government’s Rwanda policy is set to be considered in July.

She accused the Government of going ahead with the plan before the Court of Appeal’s final verdict on the lawfulness of offshore processing, because of an ongoing ‘culture war’.

She said: ‘Would it not have been open to the Home Office to hold off removals until then or is it a confected culture war so that other ministers make these remarks about ‘leftie lawyers’ thwarting the will of the people, and that these souls, these seven or so souls, are collateral damage in that culture war.’ 

Lord Coaker, shadow spokesman for home affairs and defence, branded the Government’s Rwanda policy ‘unethical, unworkable and expensive, and flies in the face of British values”.

He argued, during a House of Lords debate on the policy, that it is not only “shameful” in a moral capacity, but that the Government putting an RAF base on standby just to facilitate the flight of around seven people would be costly for the taxpayer.

He asked: “What will the cost to the taxpayer be of each person?”

Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford replied that she did not believe it was moral to “stand by and allow people to drown” or to “line the pockets of criminal gangs who seek to exploit people trying to cross in small boats”.

She added: “In terms of the cost, I don’t think we can put a cost on the price of human lives. I think we need to do all we can to deter these perilous journeys.”

A Boeing 767 plane reported to be the first to transport migrants to Rwanda is seen on the tarmac at MOD Boscombe Down base in Wiltshire

A Boeing 767 plane reported to be the first to transport migrants to Rwanda is seen on the tarmac at MOD Boscombe Down base in Wiltshire

A Boeing 767 plane reported to be the first to transport migrants to Rwanda is seen on the tarmac at MOD Boscombe Down base in Wiltshire

Police are seen outside Boscombe Down Air Base, as the first flight relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda prepares to leave the UK

Police are seen outside Boscombe Down Air Base, as the first flight relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda prepares to leave the UK

Police are seen outside Boscombe Down Air Base, as the first flight relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda prepares to leave the UK

Vans arrive at Colnbrook - Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre - this afternoon ahead of the first flight to Rwanda

Vans arrive at Colnbrook - Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre - this afternoon ahead of the first flight to Rwanda

Vans arrive at Colnbrook – Heathrow Immigration Removal Centre – this afternoon ahead of the first flight to Rwanda

This morning, Liz Truss said the first plane will take off today even if it is only carrying one migrant. The Supreme Court ruling means this condition will be met. 

It came as Boris Johnson vowed lawyers and Church of England critics would not deter the government from seeing the policy through. 

Opening Cabinet this morning, Mr Johnson said: ‘What is happening with the attempt to undermine the Rwanda policy is that they are, I’m afraid, undermining everything that we’re trying to do to support safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK and to oppose the illegal and dangerous routes,’ he said. 

‘I think that what the criminal gangs are doing and what those who effectively are abetting the work of the criminal gangs are doing is undermining people’s confidence in the safe and legal system, undermining people’s general acceptance of immigration.’

The Prime Minister added: ‘We are not going to be in any way deterred or abashed by some of the criticism that is being directed upon this policy, some of it from slightly unexpected quarters. We are going to get on and deliver.’ 

Challenges by four asylum seekers were rejected by the same judge earlier today. In the first case, the judge said a man’s removal to Rwanda would not alter the quality or nature of his relationship with his UK-resident sister, after lawyers representing him argued that deportation would infringe his right to a family life. 

A barrister representing a second man told the judge that he had claimed asylum after receiving ‘death threats from loan sharks’ in Vietnam. Alex Grigg also alleged procedural failures, saying the man had been handed the letter informing him of his removal when no interpreter was present. However, the judge rejected this argument. 

The third man, who had travelled from Iran to the UK with his 21-year-old son, had asked the High Court to prevent his removal due to his mental health and right to a family life. However, refusing the application, Mr Justice Swift said: ‘I accept the prejudice to the claimant will include distress due to being separated from his son.’ 

The fourth man, a man, had his application to stop his removal rejected and he was also refused the right to appeal. Decisions on any other outstanding appeals could take place even if a migrant is already on the plane, ITV reported.  

In other developments in the unfolding Rwanda flight farce:  

  • Rwanda government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo defended the policy at a press conference in Kigali, saying: ‘We were doing this for the right reasons … We have the experience. We want it to be a welcoming place for people in precarious conditions and we’re determined to make this work’;
  • UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she did not know how many people would be on the first flight but it was important to establish the ‘principle’ of the policy and others would go in future; 
  • The archbishops of Canterbury and York along with the other Anglican bishops in the House of Lords condemned the ‘immoral’ plan; 
  • Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: ‘Deporting asylum seekers should shame us as a nation.’
  • Ms Truss did not deny estimates that a charter flight could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, instead saying she ‘can’t put a figure’ on the expense but ‘it is value for money’;
  • Tory MP Peter Bone made a combative speech in the Commons in which he complained about ‘lefty lawyers’ sabotaging the policy; 
  • A government source suggested the chances of the first flight going ahead were ‘very, very slim’ even despite the government winning a key court battle; 
  • More than 100 migrants arrived in Dover after crossing the Channel in small boats today, with this week set to be one of 2022’s busiest yet for crossings;
This Boeing 767 - seen landing at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire today - is expected to be used in the first flight to Rwanda tonight. Spanish carrier Privilege Style has not yet commented on the claims

This Boeing 767 - seen landing at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire today - is expected to be used in the first flight to Rwanda tonight. Spanish carrier Privilege Style has not yet commented on the claims

This Boeing 767 – seen landing at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire today – is expected to be used in the first flight to Rwanda tonight. Spanish carrier Privilege Style has not yet commented on the claims

The company has a permit to fly from Stansted to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, at 9.30pm tonight, according to Civil Aviation Authority records. The airline has not yet commented on the claims.

The company has a permit to fly from Stansted to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, at 9.30pm tonight, according to Civil Aviation Authority records. The airline has not yet commented on the claims.

The company has a permit to fly from Stansted to the Rwandan capital, Kigali, at 9.30pm tonight, according to Civil Aviation Authority records. The airline has not yet commented on the claims. 

Three Iranians, one Vietnamese, one Albanian and one Iraqi Kurd are being held at Colnbrook detention centre by Heathrow, where a coach was seen parked today

Three Iranians, one Vietnamese, one Albanian and one Iraqi Kurd are being held at Colnbrook detention centre by Heathrow, where a coach was seen parked today

Three Iranians, one Vietnamese, one Albanian and one Iraqi Kurd are being held at Colnbrook detention centre by Heathrow, where a coach was seen parked today 

Boris Johnson, opening Cabinet today, turned his fire on lawyers who he accused of 'abetting the work of criminal gangs'

Boris Johnson, opening Cabinet today, turned his fire on lawyers who he accused of 'abetting the work of criminal gangs'

Boris Johnson, opening Cabinet today, turned his fire on lawyers who he accused of ‘abetting the work of criminal gangs’

Mr Johnson - pictured today at Cabinet with Rishi Sunak in the background - insisted the Government would not be deterred by the attacks 'not least from lawyers' and told his Cabinet ministers that 'we are going to get on and deliver' the plan

Mr Johnson - pictured today at Cabinet with Rishi Sunak in the background - insisted the Government would not be deterred by the attacks 'not least from lawyers' and told his Cabinet ministers that 'we are going to get on and deliver' the plan

Mr Johnson – pictured today at Cabinet with Rishi Sunak in the background – insisted the Government would not be deterred by the attacks ‘not least from lawyers’ and told his Cabinet ministers that ‘we are going to get on and deliver’ the plan

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Priti Patel's Rwanda plan received a boost last night after judges refused to block today's flight. The Home Secretary is seen today

Priti Patel's Rwanda plan received a boost last night after judges refused to block today's flight. The Home Secretary is seen today

Priti Patel’s Rwanda plan received a boost last night after judges refused to block today’s flight. The Home Secretary is seen today 

Today, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss insisted the first flight would take off but could not say how few people will be on it

Today, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss insisted the first flight would take off but could not say how few people will be on it

Today, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss insisted the first flight would take off but could not say how few people will be on it

Detainees in Brook House Detention Centre, Gatwick this morning on the day a flight to Rwanda is due to leave

Detainees in Brook House Detention Centre, Gatwick this morning on the day a flight to Rwanda is due to leave

Detainees in Brook House Detention Centre, Gatwick this morning on the day a flight to Rwanda is due to leave

There have been protests at government removal centres including Brook House Detention Centre (pictured)

There have been protests at government removal centres including Brook House Detention Centre (pictured)

There have been protests at government removal centres including Brook House Detention Centre (pictured) 

Three cases rejected by High Court judge today  

CASE 1  

In the first case, the judge said a man’s removal to Rwanda would not alter the quality or nature of his relationship with his UK-resident sister, after lawyers representing him argued that deportation would infringe his right to a family life. 

CASE 2  

A barrister representing a second man told the judge that he had claimed asylum after receiving ‘death threats from loan sharks’ in Vietnam. Alex Grigg also alleged procedural failures, saying the man had been handed the letter informing him of his removal when no interpreter was present. However, the judge rejected this argument. 

CASE 3 

The third man, who had travelled from Iran to the UK with his 21-year-old son, had asked the High Court to prevent his removal due to his mental health and right to a family life. However, refusing the application, Mr Justice Swift said: ‘I accept the prejudice to the claimant will include distress due to being separated from his son.’ 

CASE 4  

In a hearing on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Justice Swift refused the application of a Kurdish man against his removal. The judge also refused him permission to appeal.  

Today ministers have turned their fire on lawyers who they blame for sabotaging their flagship migration policy.  

‘All the lawyers who have been fighting in the courts will now turn their collective might elsewhere and direct all their resources at the remaining individuals due to be on board,’ a government source told The Times

‘They’ll be exploiting every single loophole possible and using every trick in the book to get those last people removed from the flight.

‘[The chances of it going ahead as planned] are very, very slim.’ 

Last night, Tory MP Peter Bone made a combative speech in the Commons in which he complained about ‘lefty lawyers’ sabotaging the policy. 

The MP Wellingborough told MPs: ‘We hear that a number of people who were meant to be on the flight tomorrow have, miraculously, got some lefty lawyer to intervene and stop it. 

‘Can I suggest that instead of booking 50 people on each flight to Rwanda, book 250 people on it then when they stop half of them from travelling you still have a full flight – come on, get on and send them.’ 

Judges yesterday refused to block the inaugural flight scheduled for today to the offshore processing centre.

Tory MPs cheered in the Commons as the Court of Appeal backed a ruling in the Home Secretary’s favour last week, giving the policy the green light.

A separate High Court bid to block the flight also failed yesterday when the charity Asylum Aid was denied an injunction.

The Home Secretary has now won three victories in cases brought against the Government by Left-wing groups. 

A processing tent erected next door to the Hope Hostel accommodation in Kigali, Rwanda where migrants from the UK are expected to be taken when they arrive

A processing tent erected next door to the Hope Hostel accommodation in Kigali, Rwanda where migrants from the UK are expected to be taken when they arrive

A processing tent erected next door to the Hope Hostel accommodation in Kigali, Rwanda where migrants from the UK are expected to be taken when they arrive

Ms Patel has now won three victories in cases brought against the Government by Left-wing groups . Pictured: Human rights protesters demonstrate outside the Home Office in London

Ms Patel has now won three victories in cases brought against the Government by Left-wing groups . Pictured: Human rights protesters demonstrate outside the Home Office in London

Ms Patel has now won three victories in cases brought against the Government by Left-wing groups . Pictured: Human rights protesters demonstrate outside the Home Office in London

Revealed: The piously lefty cabal who have fought to ground Rwanda flight 

By David Wilkes for the Daily Mail  

A collection of Left-wing groups have made legal challenges in a bid to block ministers’ plan to send migrants to Rwanda. They are represented by lawyers who in many cases have links to the Labour Party and a lengthy record of bringing cases against the Government.

MATRIX CHAMBERS

Barristers from the trendy London human rights chambers – co-founded by Cherie Blair – represented the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, Care4Calais and Detention Action on Friday and yesterday.

One was top QC Raza Husain, who last month retweeted a message by Labour MP Chris Bryant criticising Boris Johnson’s response to Partygate that said: ‘Downing Street under him has been a cesspit of arrogant, entitled narcissists.’ Mrs Blair left the chambers in 2014.

LEIGH DAY

A separate challenge to the Rwanda policy by charity Asylum Aid, heard in court yesterday, was lodged by law firm Leigh Day, which was accused of being behind a ‘witch-hunt’ of British troops in Iraq.

The firm and three of its solicitors – including senior partner Martyn Day – were cleared of a string of misconduct allegations following a disciplinary hearing in 2017. They had been charged by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority after the Ministry of Defence submitted a lengthy dossier of alleged wrongdoing, including claims they caused innocent troops years of torment.

Leigh Day worked with Birmingham solicitor Phil Shiner to represent Iraqi clients in parallel legal actions. Mr Shiner was struck off as a solicitor for dishonesty over his handling of war-crime allegations against the Army.

DOUGHTY STREET

Asylum Aid’s legal team also includes several barristers from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s former chambers, Doughty Street.

They include leading human rights lawyer Helena Kennedy QC, who has been an active and outspoken Labour peer since entering the House of Lords as Baroness Kennedy after the general election in 1997. It is also where Amal Clooney, the lawyer wife of film star George, practises.

Robert Latham, who retains an associate tenancy at Doughty Street, supported Sir Keir’s leadership campaign with a donation of £100,000.

DUNCAN LEWIS SOLICITORS

Acting for the PCS union, Care 4 Calais and Detention Action, Duncan Lewis has a long track record of bringing challenges against government immigration measures.

In 2020, The Mail on Sunday revealed the firm had received £55 million in legal aid from the British taxpayer in just three years. The paper also told how the company’s staff have travelled to Calais and offered support to refugees hoping to reach Britain.

Owned by entrepreneur Amarpal Singh Gupta, who has been dubbed ‘Britain’s legal aid king’, the firm has forged a close relationship with charities that work among refugee camps on the French coast. Staff have also reportedly boasted of mixing with senior Labour Party figures, including deputy leader Angela Rayner and foreign spokesman David Lammy.

DETENTION ACTION

Bella Sankey, director of campaign group Detention Action, is a former would-be Labour MP endorsed by Sir Keir. Like the Labour leader many years before, Miss Sankey previously worked at Liberty, the campaign group for civil liberties which has long been a recruiting ground for Labour politicians.

PUBLIC AND COMMERCIAL SERVICES UNION

The union’s firebrand general secretary Mark Serwotka was kicked out of the Labour Party in 1992 for being a member of the Trotskyist group Socialist Organiser. In 2016, he rejoined Labour, saying his long-time friend Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership offered a ‘genuine break from the past’. In recent years, he has called for a General Strike to ‘bring the Tories down’.

CARE4CALAIS

The charity was at the centre of a scandal in 2017 when it emerged its married founder Clare Moseley, a former accountant and then 46, had a year-long affair with Mohamed Bajjar, then 27. He had falsely claimed to be a Syrian refugee, but was in reality a Tunisian market-stall trader married to another British woman.

The charity is currently embroiled in a Charity Commission inquiry over ‘serious governance concerns’.

ASYLUM AID

Its Cambridge-educated director Alison Pickup leads a team providing legal representation to asylum seekers and refugees. She was previously legal director of the Public Law Project – and before that had a practice at Doughty Street Chambers, where she specialised in immigration, asylum and migrants’ rights in the context of unlawful detention, community care, asylum support and access to justice.

Among her achievements, Doughty Street Chambers’ website lists her as having been junior counsel in ‘two of the leading challenges to the legal aid cuts’.

One was the successful challenge to the proposed ‘residence test’ for legal aid, the other established that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to respect for private and family life – may require legal aid to be provided in immigration cases. 

Just seven names remained of the 130 on the original passenger list last night after lawyers submitted a series of challenges.

Further individual appeals by these seven, who include Iranians, Iraqis and Albanians, were expected in the hours before the flight.

At least six further cases are due to be heard at the High Court today under the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights and other legal measures. 

But the Court of Appeal’s decision means Miss Patel’s scheme to hand Channel migrants and other ‘irregular arrivals’ a one-way ticket to the east African nation has avoided falling at the first hurdle.

The Home Secretary insists the policy is necessary to avoid further drownings in the Channel. 

‘People will see this as a good result for the Home Office, but now the policy is not facing a blanket ban, well-resourced lawyers will try to get their clients pulled off the flight individually,’ a government source said.

‘They will try every tactic and exploit every loophole, probably waiting until the very last minute.’

The leadership of the Church of England yesterday condemned the Rwanda operation as an ‘immoral policy that shames Britain’. 

In a letter to The Times, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and 24 other bishops said: ‘Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation.’

Lord Justice Singh, chairing a panel of three judges in the Court of Appeal yesterday, declined to ‘interfere with the conclusions’ made by a High Court judge on Friday.

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He said Mr Justice Swift ‘did not err in principle’ when he refused to grant an interim injunction that would have stopped the flight taking off.

Lord Justice Singh was a leading human rights barrister and founded Matrix Chambers with Cherie Blair.

The appeal was brought by the Public and Commercial Services union, which represents a majority of UK Border Force staff, and charities Care 4 Calais and Detention Action. 

They were refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, although the applicants may lodge a further bid directly.

Raza Husain QC, for the applicants, told the court the Rwanda policy featured ‘a serious interference with basic dignity’ and the High Court had wrongly assessed the strength of their claim. 

He added that if migrants were to be sent to Rwanda and a judicial review – due in July – rules the policy unlawful the Home Office would be required to return them to the UK.

Migrants could then have ‘significant claims’ for damages, the QC suggested.

But Rory Dunlop QC, for the Home Office, said: ‘The flight tomorrow is important. This is a policy which is intended to deter dangerous and unnecessary journeys, journeys from safe third countries by people who do not need to make that journey to be safe, they can claim in France or wherever it is.

‘This is a policy that – if it works – could save lives as well as disrupt the model of traffickers.’

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has implicitly rejected Prince Charles’s reported criticisms of the Rwanda plan.

Mr Johnson declined to comment directly on whether the prince was wrong to call it ‘appalling’, but added: ‘This is about making sure that we break the business model of criminal gangs who are not only risking people’s lives but undermining public confidence in legal migration.’

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the scheme was ‘shameful’ and ‘completely unworkable, deeply unethical and extortionately expensive’. 

It came as protestors were picturing scuffling with police last night after an emergency protest outside the Home Office in London.

The demonstrations, which began at around 5.30pm and quickly swelled, included the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who was pictured speaking enthusiastically into a megaphone as a large crowd amassed.

The scenes later turned chaotic after objectors were seen grappling with officers yesterday evening. The Met Police say no arrests were made.

Charities had challenged an initial refusal to grant an injunction on Friday, with three Court of Appeal judges yesterday rejecting their appeal following an urgent hearing.

The decision will not stop individual refugees from appealing their deportation, while a full judicial review of the policy is still due to take place in July.

Yesterday afternoon, Lord Justice Singh, sitting with Lady Justice Simler and Lord Justice Stuart-Smith, said Mr Justice Swift had ‘conducted the balancing exercise properly’ and did not err in principle nor in the approach he took.

He added: ‘He weighed all the factors and reached a conclusion which he was reasonably entitled to reach on the material before him.

‘This court cannot therefore interfere with that conclusion.’     

The Court of Appeal’s decision means Miss Patel’s scheme to hand Channel migrants and other ‘irregular arrivals’ a one-way ticket to the east African nation has avoided falling at the first hurdle. Pictured: Border Force and the military escort migrant ashore at Dover Docks

The Court of Appeal’s decision means Miss Patel’s scheme to hand Channel migrants and other ‘irregular arrivals’ a one-way ticket to the east African nation has avoided falling at the first hurdle. Pictured: Border Force and the military escort migrant ashore at Dover Docks

The Court of Appeal’s decision means Miss Patel’s scheme to hand Channel migrants and other ‘irregular arrivals’ a one-way ticket to the east African nation has avoided falling at the first hurdle. Pictured: Border Force and the military escort migrant ashore at Dover Docks

Migrants travelling to the UK on small boats will be put on jets and sent to Rwanda while their applications are processed

Migrants travelling to the UK on small boats will be put on jets and sent to Rwanda while their applications are processed

Migrants travelling to the UK on small boats will be put on jets and sent to Rwanda while their applications are processed

Rwandan officials say deported migrants will be able to ‘come and go as they please’ from accommodation and only need to follow ‘basic housekeeping rules’ – as they slam Church critics’ ‘misconceptions’ about Africa 

Rwandan officials today said deported migrants would be able to ‘come and go as they please’ from their accomodation and only need to follow ‘basic housekeeping rules’, as they slammed critics’ ‘misconceptions’ of Africa. 

Government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo hit back at the Church of England’s claim the plan was ‘immoral’, saying: ‘We don’t think it’s immoral to offer a home to people.

‘People may have their own opinions on what this problem is like, depending on where they come from, but from where we come from we’re doing this for the right reasons.

‘We want to be a welcoming place and we’ll do our best to make sure that migrants are taken care of, and that they’re able to build a life here.’

Rwanda government spokeswomen Yolande Makolo (centre) holds a press conference regarding the refugees arring from the UK in Rwanda

Rwanda government spokeswomen Yolande Makolo (centre) holds a press conference regarding the refugees arring from the UK in Rwanda

Rwanda government spokeswomen Yolande Makolo (centre) holds a press conference regarding the refugees arring from the UK in Rwanda

Asked for the Rwandan government’s response to comments from migrants who said they would rather die than be sent to the country, Ms Makolo said some people have ‘misconceptions’ about what Africa is like which ‘does not reflect the reality’.

She added: ‘We do not consider living in Rwanda a punishment … we do our best to provide a conducive environment for Rwandans to develop and for anyone else who comes to live here with us.’

Ms Makolo described the agreement, which has been opposed by the UN and rights groups, as an ‘innovative programme’.

‘Rwanda is proud to partner with the UK for this innovative programme that’s intended to address the global migration crisis, which is causing untold suffering to so many. We are also keen to address the global imbalance in opportunities that is a major driver of irregular migration.

‘Rwanda has a strong record of providing safety for those in danger. Tomorrow when the first flight lands here in Kigali, the new arrivals will be welcomed and will be looked after and supported to make new lives here. We will provide support with their asylum applications, including legal support and translation services. We will provide decent accommodation and look after all their essential needs.

‘We also want to make it clear that if people apply for asylum in Rwanda and their claim is rejected, they will still have a pathway to legal residency in Rwanda. We welcome people from everywhere .. The new arrivals will be free to come and go as they please.’

Questioned about whether there will be curfews or any other restrictions placed on migrants once placed in accommodation, Ms Makolo said they are not detention facilities and there will be some basic house-keeping rules, but they will effectively be able to ‘come and go as they please’. 

Ms Makolo described the agreement, which has been opposed by the UN and rights groups, as an 'innovative programme'

Ms Makolo described the agreement, which has been opposed by the UN and rights groups, as an 'innovative programme'

Ms Makolo described the agreement, which has been opposed by the UN and rights groups, as an ‘innovative programme’

If migrants choose to leave, ‘we will support them to travel to their country of origin’ or another country where they have a legal right to stay, she said, adding: ‘We do hope that they’ll choose to stay with us and follow in the footsteps of so many who have made Rwanda their home and have flourished here.

‘Rwanda has a record of caring for refugees and welcoming migrants and will be able to provide not just a safe haven these people are looking for, but the opportunity to build new lives here and develop alongside Rwandans.’

Asked whether they were concerned about the outcry over the plan and the legal challenges in the UK, Ms Makolo told reporters: ‘We were doing this for the right reasons … We have the experience. We want it to be a welcoming place for people in precarious conditions and we’re determined to make this work.

‘We understand that there might be opposition to this but we are asking them to give this programme a chance because it’s a solution.

‘There are not many solutions, people are suffering, the asylum system is broken and being taken advantage of by criminal gangs that exploit people making false promises.

‘People are risking their lives in these dangerous crossings, so something has to give and we are happy to be working on this solution with our UK partners.’

First Rwanda flight doesn’t deter migrants as more than 100 more arrive in Dover after crossing the Channel in small boats with this week set to be one of 2022’s busiest yet for crossings

By Charlotte McLaughlin for MailOnline  

More than 100 migrants arrived in the UK yesterday before the first flight to bring asylum seekers to Rwanda is scheduled to leave. 

Judges decided that the plane to the African country could take off as official figures showed 138 people made the perilous journey across the English Channel in three boats.

It brings the total number of new arrivals to 705 in June alone, with the total for the year so far reaching 10,269. 

The mostly male migrants could be seen being led along the gangway yesterday in Dover for processing by soldiers dressed in camouflage fatigues and high-vis vests and Border Force agents in Hazmat suits. 

A further 92 adults and 12 children including a heavily pregnant woman were also brought to shore by Border Force this morning after attempting to cross the Channel.

When asked if they knew they could be sent to Rwanda, one migrant replied ‘What? No’ while others looked on in apparent confusion. 

Court of Appeal judges rejected a legal challenge attempting to block the first flight in the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda amid pressure from human rights groups and opposition parties.

Seven or eight people are reported to be leaving on the flight this evening, which is estimated to be costing the government £500,000.

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, today, by Border Force, following a small boat incident in the Channel

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, today, by Border Force, following a small boat incident in the Channel

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, today, by Border Force, following a small boat incident in the Channel

A man carries a child as migrants arrive at the Port of Dover

A man carries a child as migrants arrive at the Port of Dover

A man carries a child as migrants arrive at the Port of Dover

A member of the military carries a child as migrants arrive at the Port of Dover

A member of the military carries a child as migrants arrive at the Port of Dover

A member of the military carries a child as migrants arrive at the Port of Dover

Migrants including a heavily pregnant woman and babies have been brought into Dover on two ships this morning.

The Dover RNLI lifeboat brought 10 to 20 migrants to shore while the Border Force ship Vigilant is brought around 60 people into Dover. 

Approximately 92 adults and 12 children have been brought to shore by Border Force this morning after attempting to cross the Channel.

So far this morning migrants have been brought into the Port of Dover aboard the Dover RNLI lifeboat and the BF Vigilant.

A further 50 people – mostly men in their late teens or 20s – have been brought to shore in Dover on the Border Force ship Hurricane in the third recue by a ship today. 

A man is seen with a child while migrants are brought in to Dover by RNLI and the Border Force

A man is seen with a child while migrants are brought in to Dover by RNLI and the Border Force

A man is seen with a child while migrants are brought in to Dover by RNLI and the Border Force 

One man carried a toddler on his shoulders as he came ashore, and one woman was heavily pregnant.

Asked where they came from refugees said Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Yesterday, Border Force cutter Hurricane took the first boat at around 3pm, while a second group of 50 people were escorted into the port on an RNLI lifeboat shortly before 8pm. 

Another RNLI lifeboat brought a further 40 migrants to shore after dark at approximately 10.30pm.

Migrants on board one boat in the Calais Strait also got into difficulty and were rescued by the French on Monday.   

A soldier carries a child nearby a woman coming off the boat in Dover today

A soldier carries a child nearby a woman coming off the boat in Dover today

A soldier carries a child nearby a woman coming off the boat in Dover today

Inflatable boats are towed into the marina after a group of people are brought in to Dover

Inflatable boats are towed into the marina after a group of people are brought in to Dover

Inflatable boats are towed into the marina after a group of people are brought in to Dover

A soldier is seen with a man carrying a child while wearing a life vest as over 100 migrants arrived today

A soldier is seen with a man carrying a child while wearing a life vest as over 100 migrants arrived today

A soldier is seen with a man carrying a child while wearing a life vest as over 100 migrants arrived today 

Boat Notre Dame des Flandres was tasked with retrieving 43 migrants from the Channel, who were then dropped off at Gravelines where border police and the departmental fire and rescue service took care of them. 

Boris Johnson accused lawyers representing migrants of ‘abetting the work of criminal gangs’ today as he defended the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda ahead of the expected first flight on Tuesday.

The plans have been challenged in the courts and condemned by the Church of England’s senior bishops and reportedly by the Prince of Wales, with the Prime Minister acknowledging that there had been criticism from ‘some slightly unexpected quarters’.

Migrants disembark at the Port of Dover, after being rescued while crossing the English Channel, today

Migrants disembark at the Port of Dover, after being rescued while crossing the English Channel, today

Migrants disembark at the Port of Dover, after being rescued while crossing the English Channel, today

A woman is helped ashore following a small boat incident in the Channel

A woman is helped ashore following a small boat incident in the Channel

A woman is helped ashore following a small boat incident in the Channel

An urgent interim injunction to stop the new scheme was brought about by migrant charity Asylum Aid but was rejected in the same court yesterday. 

Mr Johnson insisted the Government would not be deterred by the attacks ‘not least from lawyers’ and told his Cabinet ministers that ‘we are going to get on and deliver’ the plan.

Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover, said: ‘The Channel Crossings put lives at risk in the hands of ruthless criminal gangs.

‘The action being taken by our Government to bring these dangerous crossings to an end is the compassionate, common sense and right thing to do.

‘It’s disappointing to see the courts being misused by political activists who support uncontrolled immigration.

‘There is no need for anyone to get on a small boat. People are safe in France and many other places before France.’

This week is predicted to be one of the busiest so far this year for small boat crossings as conditions at sea become calmer – with around 30 migrants already spotted floating in the Channel on a black dinghy.

Despite Home Office warnings some people could be deported to Rwanda to be relocated, 705 people have been detained in June alone.

The total number of migrants to make the treacherous journey across the 21-mile Dover Strait currently stands at 10,269 in 321 boats – more than double that of the same period in 2021 when just over 4,546 people had been detained.

According to figures released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), 28,526 made the crossing in 2021 – compared to 8,410 who arrived in 2020.

Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove MP, has said: ‘The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable.

‘Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they also impact on the UK taxpayer, risk lives and our ability to help refugees come to the UK via safe and legal routes. Rightly, the British public has had enough.

‘Through our Nationality and Borders Bill, we’re cracking down on people smugglers and fixing the broken system by making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introducing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for those who facilitate illegal entry into our country.’

‘This policy shames Britain’: Entire Church of England leadership calls Government’s plan to send failed asylum seekers to Rwanda ‘immoral’ as first flight is set to go ahead tomorrow

By Jacob Thorburn for MailOnline

Senior leaders at the Church of England have ripped into the Home Office’s ‘immoral’ plan to deport migrants to Rwanda.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are among those who have lent their pens to a strongly worded letter that denounced the policy as one that ‘shames Britain’.

Signed by the Most Rev Justin Welby and the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, the senior leaders, alongside 23 bishops that sit in the House of Lords, criticised the plan for lacking morality.

Writing to the Times, the co-signed letter states: ‘Whether or not the first deportation flight leaves Britain today for Rwanda, this policy should shame us as a nation. 

‘The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries.’

It comes just hours after three Court of Appeal judges struck down lawyers, charities and campaigners’ latest bid to thwart the first Kigali-bound flight leaving today.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which represents more than 80 per cent of Border Force staff, and charities Care4Calais and Detention Action challenged refusal to grant an injunction on Friday, which meant the first flight to the east African country could go ahead today. 

But, following an urgent hearing in London yesterday, three senior judges dismissed the appeal, saying there was no error in the decision of Mr Justice Swift. 

Rev Justin Welby

Rev Justin Welby

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

The Archbishop of Canterbury is among those who have signed a strongly worded letter that denounced Boris Johnson’s policy as one that ‘shames Britain’

The letter is also signed by the bishops of London, Durham, Exeter, Birmingham and Manchester.

The Home Office’s proposals to fly migrants who entered the UK illegally to Rwanda have split opinion and drawn the ire of several high profile figures. 

Rev Welby had previously used his Easter sermon to describe ‘serious ethical questions’ around the plan to send asylum seekers to the East African nation.

The Archbishop told his Canterbury congregation that the UK has a duty as a ‘Christian country’ to not ‘sub-contract our responsibilities’ after anyone who arrived in Britain illegally since January 1 could be relocated to Rwanda under a new deal. 

He later said it would have been ‘cowardly’ not to have spoken out against the plan. Cabinet ministers hit back at Mr Welby after his outspoken intervention in April. 

MPs later called Mr Welby’s stinging intervention over the government’s plan to send thousands of migrants with a one-way ticket to Rwanda ‘clumsy’. 

Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, a committed Catholic, said the government is not ‘abandoning’ migrants but taking on a ‘very difficult responsibility’ with the ‘intention’ of doing good’ which he said is important within Christianity.  

Other Tory MPs John Redwood, Mike Wood and Tom Hunt also blasted Mr Welby’s comments with Mr Hunt saying the Archbishop should be wary of ‘clumsily intervening’ into political issues. 

Prince Charles

Prince Charles

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Repeatedly asked about the Prince of Wales’s (left) apparent view that the proposals are ‘appalling’, Mr Johnson (right in Cornwall yesterday) insisted they were essential to ‘break the business model’ of people-smugglers

The Archbishop’s comments were later echoed by Prince Charles, after The Mail revealed he had privately condemned the Rwanda asylum plan, saying giving Channel migrants a one-way ticket to Africa was ‘appalling’.

Downing Street tried to cool the tensions later, saying Mr Johnson has ‘nothing but respect and admiration’ for the Prince.

The PM’s official spokesman said: ‘The Prime Minister has nothing but respect and admiration for the Prince of Wales, who’s spoken out on a number of issues, not least the environment.’

The tetchy exchanges with Mr Johnson came amid fears ministers could be blocked from putting Channel migrants on the first flight to Rwanda. 

Mr Johnson, according to sources who attended a private meeting between the Prime Minister and Tory MPs after Easter, claimed the senior clergyman had ‘misconstrued the policy’.

Mr Johnson told LBC the Government had expected that ‘very active lawyers’ would try to challenge the Rwanda policy.

‘We have always said that we knew that this policy would attract attacks from those who want to have a completely open-doors approach to immigration, who want people to be able to come across the Channel without let or hindrance,’ he said.

‘There are very active lawyers in this field. I have the utmost respect for the legal profession but it is also important we stop criminal gangs.’

Dozens of protestors are pictured scuffling with Met Police officers outside the Home Office during the 'Stop Rwanda flights' protest yesterday evening

Dozens of protestors are pictured scuffling with Met Police officers outside the Home Office during the 'Stop Rwanda flights' protest yesterday evening

Dozens of protestors are pictured scuffling with Met Police officers outside the Home Office during the ‘Stop Rwanda flights’ protest yesterday evening

Asked if the policy will be worth it if it results in just one person being removed, Mr Johnson said: ‘I think it’s very important that the criminal gangs who are putting people’s lives at risk in the Channel is going to be broken – is being broken – by this Government.

A Government spokesperson said: ‘Our world-leading Partnership with Rwanda will see those making dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys to the UK relocated there to have their claims considered and rebuild their lives.

‘There is no one single solution to the global migration crisis, but doing nothing is not an option and this partnership will help break the business model of criminal gangs and prevent loss of life.

‘Rwanda is a fundamentally safe and secure country with a track record of supporting asylum seekers and we are confident the agreement is fully compliant with all national and international law.’

It comes just months after the former archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan William, was locked in a war of words with the Government over its £120m scheme to halt a surge in Channel crossings.

He joined his successor and the incumbent Archbishop Justin Welby, and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell in questioning the morality of the plan, labelling it ‘sinful’.



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