LONDON (AP) — The British government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda undermines the “basic dignity” of people fleeing war and oppression, a lawyer told a hearing on Monday. before the Court of Appeal seeking to block the implementation of the policy.
The London Court of Appeal is hearing an appeal brought by a coalition of groups including immigration rights campaigners and civil servants’ unions. They are seeking to overturn a lower court ruling that would allow the first deportation flight to take off as scheduled on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, activists are challenging deportations on a case-by-case basis, seeking to ensure that no migrant will be eligible for deportation even if flights are permitted.
Raza Husain, a lawyer for migrants, said the trial court’s decision not to issue an injunction against the deportations “cannot be rationally upheld” due to concerns about the protection of migrants’ rights in Rwanda. As a result, there’s a good chance the policy will eventually be blocked by the courts, exposing the government to claims for damages from anyone wrongfully expelled, Husain said in court filings.
Husain argued that the government’s plan involves forcibly returning asylum seekers to a country they do not want to go to as part of a policy to deter others from trying to enter Great Britain. Brittany.
“It amounts, in every way, to a serious assault on fundamental dignity…when these people have already suffered significant trauma and have mental health issues,” he said in the court filing.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government announced plans in April to send undocumented migrants to Rwanda. Migrants deported under the scheme would be forced to seek asylum in Rwanda, not the UK. Britain has paid Rwanda 120 million pounds ($158 million) up front and will make additional payments depending on the number of people deported.
The scheme aims to discourage migrants from risking their lives crossing the English Channel in small boats after an increase in such journeys in the past two years. But human rights groups say the policy is illegal, inhumane and will only amplify the risks for migrants.