The Appeal court in London has refused to stop the first chartered flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda scheduled for Tuesday, June 14.
However, fewer than 11 migrants of the 130 that were handed “removal directions” will be on the flight, which is part of the new controversial immigration policy by the United Kingdom government.
Activists and campaigners including the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, had lodged an appeal against Friday’s High Court ruling which said the flight on Tuesday could go ahead. They had also asked the court to ground all flights till a judicial review of the policy scheduled for next month.
“This appeal is dismissed,” judge Rabinder Singh said on Monday.
The UN refugee chief on Monday slammed the plan. “We believe that this is all wrong… for so many reasons,” Filippo Grandi told reporters.
A planeload of 31 claimants is due to depart Tuesday as part of an agreement reached with Kigali that London says is aimed at deterring illegal migrants from undertaking perilous crossings of the Channel by boat.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the scheme costing approximately $160 million saying it will “save countless lives” from human trafficking.
Under the policy, people entering the UK illegally will be flown to Rwanda to apply for asylum there.
In London, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK, Johnston Busingye writing in The Daily Telegraph expressed disappointment that “much of the discussion has either questioned our motives for entering the partnership or doubted our ability to provide safe haven” arguing that while “there is no doubt that we are a work in progress, every country is, but the Rwanda of today is unrecognisable from the country the world was introduced to in 1994.”
Kigali says migrants will be entitled to full protection under Rwandan law, equal access to employment, and enrolment in healthcare and social care services as well as the issuance of necessary identification documents.
So far, Rwanda has made public five hotels in Kigali that have the capacity to accommodate 350 people. Three of them are Hope Hostel, locally known as “One Dollar Campaign” complex, Desire Resort Hotel and Hallmark Residences.
The actual number of the migrants to be relocated has not been announced yet, but the signed deal indicates that any male migrant caught trying to enter the UK territory illegally by boat or hiding in vehicles will be shipped to Rwanda.
Some of the prepared hotels are equipped with the basics such as kitchens, gym equipment, swimming pools, TV sets, utensils, single or double beds, while others have shared dining rooms and bathrooms. The known hotels are all located in Kigali. Officials say the migrants will be treated like any hotel guest, refuting claims regarding human rights allegations.
Source: The Daily Telegraph