British government’s controversial plan to fly asylum-seekers from the UK to Rwanda is set to commence after a last-minute appeal was rejected by the court.
A last-minute effort to stop deportations of asylum-seekers to Rwanda failed recently after the Court of Appeal in London rejected attempts to halt the first flight.
The British government has encountered pushback over the plans from the United Nations, human rights and refugee groups.
The appeal was dismissed by Judge Rabinder Singh who said the appeals court could not stop a prior High Court ruling that was “clear and detailed.”
Also, the judge did not grant permission for further appeal. This means that the first planned flight that will take place today will likely go ahead.
Refugee charities and a trade union appealed to temporarily stop the planned flights, arguing that the flights would undermine the “basic dignity” of people fleeing war, oppression and other issues.
Under the plan was agreed upon between the British and Rwandan governments, some asylum-seekers that are in the UK will be offered a one-way ticket to Rwanda.
According to reports, the UK has paid Rwanda 120 million pounds ($148 million; €140 million) upfront for the plan.
The British government plans to make additional payments to Rwanda based on the number of asylum-seekers that are deported.
The first flight will have over 30 people on board but the number has now dropped to 11.
No comment has been made by British officials on the nationalities of those who have been earmarked for the first deportation flight to Rwanda, although British charities reveal the flight includes those fleeing from Syria and Afghanistan.
The British government has justified the controversial plan by saying it welcomes refugees that come to Britain through approved immigration routes, but it also wants to end criminal smuggling and dangerous Channel crossings.
The government hopes the flights will serve as a deterrent to other asylum-seekers looking to come to the UK.
In the same vein, Rwanda has defended the deal, with President Paul Kagame saying the deal was not about “trading people” but giving a chance for asylum-seekers to start a new life.
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