Rwanda plan: Greg Hands snaps at Adil Ray over refugee crisis
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Two asylum seekers who entered the UK earlier in the year fear they will be removed from Britain and sent to Rwanda, due to new Home Office Plans.
An Eritrean man who arrived in February and an Iranian who came in March have instructed lawyers to trigger a legal challenge to the policy.
The policy, signed off by Priti Patel and praised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, stipulates that those arriving by small boat across the Channel would be flown with a one-way ticket to Rwanda. The Government says the move will save hundreds of people from trafficking.
Both men are seeking anonymity during court proceedings, as they fear retribution if they were to return home.
In the first legal test of the new policy, Instalaw, the law firm, will issue judicial review proceedings today challenging the legality of the “world-first” immigration deal. Stuart Luke, a partner at the firm, will argue that ministers do not have the prerogative powers to agree on an international deal without first seeking the approval of parliament.
Ms Patel signed the deal without any legislation, debates or votes in parliament.
Lawyers will also argue the deal does not comply with the Geneva Convention, as the two men claimed asylum in the UK and are entitled to have their claim for asylum determined in the UK, not in Rwanda.
Britain has promised Rwanda an initial £120m as part of an “economic transformation” to pay for housing and integration for the migrants, but the UK will be paying for operational costs too.
The Government’s controversial Nationality and Borders Bill was also passed by the Lords earlier in the month.
Ms Patel signed the deal without any legislation, debates or votes in parliament. (Image: GETTY)
Lawyers will also argue the deal does not comply with the Geneva Convention (Image: GETTY)
The Government said the bill will: “deter illegal entry into the UK, breaking the business model of people-smuggling networks, and speed up the removal of those with no right to be in the UK.”
The bill includes clauses to allow indefinite detention, offshore processing, and pushbacks at sea and will allow differential treatment of refugees depending on how they arrive to the UK.
It has been described as “racist” and a violation of international law by numerous human rights bodies.
A Home Office source told the Times, following the news of the legal challenge, that “it was always to be expected”.
The Eritrean man taking legal action fled from the country’s army in 2016, (Image: PA IMAGES)
The bill includes clauses to allow indefinite detention, offshore processing, and pushbacks at sea (Image: PA IMAGES)
In a speech earlier this month Ms Patel said: “The British people are fair and generous when it comes to helping those in need, but the persistent circumventing of our laws and immigration rules and the reality of a system that is open to gaming and criminal exploitation has eroded public support for Britain’s asylum system and those that genuinely need access to it.”
The Eritrean man taking legal action fled from the country’s army in 2016, he then spent time in Sudan before entering Libya, where he said he was kidnapped for slavery, tortured, raped and held for more than two years. He escaped and entered Italy in August before travelling to Belgium and hiding in the back of a lorry bound for Britain in February.
It has been described as “racist” and a violation of international law (Image: PA IMAGES)
Sonya Sceats, the chief Executive at Freedom from Torture, said to the Guardian: “The outpouring of compassion for those fleeing Ukraine and Afghanistan has shown that the public wants people seeking safety to be welcomed.
“But instead, this government is planning to ship refugees halfway around the world to Rwanda.
“We shouldn’t have to resort to legal action for this government to treat refugees with basic human dignity.”