Home Office planning new deportation flight to Rwanda

Some asylum seekers have received letters saying government intends to remove them, the Guardian has learned

The Home Office is planning a new deportation flight to Rwanda, the Guardian has learned.

Some newly arrived asylum seekers in hotels have received letters from the department telling them their asylum claims are deemed inadmissible for consideration in the UK.

They go on to say the government intends to send them to Rwanda to have their claims processed there. Asylum seekers have 14 days to raise objections over their forced removal to the east African country.

Clare Moseley, the founder of the charity Care4Calais, said: “We’ve recently learned that the Foreign Office warned Priti Patel that refugees should not be sent to Rwanda due to human rights concerns including that they could be forced to join the country’s army and sent to fight in neighbouring states.

“Against this backdrop it hardly seems credible that the government is pressing ahead with this brutal plan. Once more we will support terrified men and their distraught families as they face the devastating prospect of being forcibly deported halfway round the world.”

The latest notices of intent are being issued before a high court hearing into the plan due to start on 5 September. It is expected to determine whether or not the policy to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda is lawful.

Claimants in the legal challenge include Care4Calais, its fellow charity Detention Action and the PCS union, which represents many Home Office staff and several individual asylum seekers.

The first planned flight to Rwanda on 14 June was grounded after legal action.

It has been revealed in earlier court hearings linked to next month’s full hearing into the Rwanda policy that the government pushed through the disputed policy despite repeated concerns from UK government officials including accusations that the Rwandan government recruited refugees to conduct armed operations in neighbouring countries, and a Foreign Office memo that urged No 10 not to get involved with the Rwanda plan due to significant human rights concerns.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our world-leading partnership with Rwanda is a key part of our strategy to overhaul the broken asylum system and break the business model of evil people-smuggling gangs.

“We have always been clear we will continue to progress the partnership to prevent loss of life in the Channel, and we are continuing to inform those who come to the UK through dangerous, illegal and unnecessary routes that they are in scope to be relocated to Rwanda, where they will have the opportunity to claim asylum and be supported to build a new life. No court has actually ruled that this partnership is unlawful, and that includes the European court of human rights.”


Diane Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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