An appeal court in the United Kingdom confirmed on Monday the legality of the first flight with irregular immigrants to Rwanda, scheduled for this Tuesday. The last minute attempt by humanitarian organizations to stop the deportation has failed. Boris Johnson’s government was already aware, when it presented its decision to divert to the African country many of the immigrants who arrived in the United Kingdom through the waters of the English Channel, that it would suffer an avalanche of appeals in the courts.
The first charter flight, scheduled for this Tuesday, was going to transfer 130 people to their new destination, who had already been previously notified of the decision. According to the flight permit records of the Civil Aviation Authority, the aircraft is chartered by a Spanish charter company, based in Palma de Mallorca, called Privilege Style. The record reflects a clearance to take off from London Stanstead Airport and land at Kigali Airport. Weeks later, in front of a battalion of humanitarian organizations, border personnel, lawyers and even the United Nations, willing to question the personal circumstances of each of the deportees, the figure has been reduced to just 10 or 11 passengers. Among them, four Iranians, two Iraqis, two Albanians and a Syrian, as explained to the Court of Appeal by the lawyers of Care4Calais, one of the most active NGOs in helping irregular immigrants arriving on British shores.
Johnson hopes to appeal with his decision to the electorate most uncomfortable with the increase in irregular immigration in recent years. Much of the same electoral base that once backed Brexit because of the same misgivings. However, the decision to outsource refugee or asylum procedures to a third country has caused outrage in much of British society. If the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, recently defined the measure as “contrary to God” (ungodly, in its English expression). The newspaper The Times He assured this weekend, according to undisclosed sources, that the heir to the throne, Charles of England, had privately expressed his displeasure at the course taken by the Johnson government, which he defined as “appalling.”
Johnson has avoided a direct confrontation with the Prince of Wales. He has limited himself to ensuring that the new strategy “will help the Government to prevent people from breaking the law, and will support those who are willing to do the right thing,” in statements to the LBC network.
The Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel, one of the conservative politicians with a harsher discourse against immigration, closed last April a collaboration agreement with the Government of Rwanda, the East African country that experienced the genocidal massacre of the Tutsi minority at the hands of the Hutu power in 1994. In exchange for aid worth more than 144 million euros, the British authorities will be able to send back to that country a large part of the illegal immigrants intercepted each year in the English Channel. They will be above all adult men, who mostly make up what Downing Street calls “economic migrants”: people who, according to this classification, are not really being persecuted for political, religious or any other reason, but rather aspire to greater opportunities vital.
The lawyers who have appeared before the Court of Appeal on Monday have argued that Judge Jonathan Swift, who on Friday rejected the request that the flight be suspended until the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom rules on the constitutionality of the new policy of immigration, did not have all the information on the table. Patel’s Interior Ministry had assured that the United Nations Refugee Agency had endorsed the legality of the deportations.
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It was not until late on Friday, argued the lawyer Raza Husain, when the important reservations expressed by the UN body became known. “In both meetings [mantenidos con el Gobierno británico]the agency put on the table serious objections regarding the reception capacity of the facilities [de Ruanda] and regarding the risk of sending people who could suffer persecution to that country,” lawyer Laura Dubinsky warned at the time.
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