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UK High Court approves controversial Rwanda deportation policy, raising concern among rights groups

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An activist blocking a road leading away from the Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre holds a banner during a protest against the British Governments plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, near Heathrow airport in London, June 14, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

UK High Court has ruled in favor of the British government’s controversial policy to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda, ignoring the criticisms by human right groups who depict the plan as inhumane.

Holding the court’s session on Monday, High Court Judge Clive Lewis said in his ruling that the deportation policy, introduced under Boris Johnson, was “consistent with the refugee convention”.

“The court has concluded that it is lawful for the government to make arrangements for relocating asylum seekers to Rwanda and for their asylum claims to be determined in Rwanda rather than in the United Kingdom,” Judge Lewis said.

However, he stressed that the Home Office should consider immigrants’ “particular circumstances” before deporting them to the central African country.

He also discussed that the circumstances of the first group of refugees who were set to be transported to Rwanda, were not “properly considered,” signaling further legal battles ahead.

A court hearing in the case is set for next month, and appeals are likely.

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The development came after several asylum seekers, aid groups and a border officials’ union filed lawsuits to stop the Conservative government from implementing the inhumane policy.

Ever Solomon, head of the charity Refugee Council, blasted the high court’s ruling, and depicted the plan as a “cruel policy”.

“Treating people who are in search of safety like human cargo and shipping them off to another country is a cruel policy that will cause great human suffering,” he said.

Welsh Refugee Council slammed Monday’s ruling as “truly horrific” and said that the UK government created a “dark day” for human rights.

“A dark day for human rights in the UK. Our clients live in constant fear of being deported to a country with questionable history human rights,” the charity said on Twitter.

London announced a deal with Rwanda in April to send asylum-seekers to the African country, claiming the measure would stop human-smugglers from sending desperate migrants on treacherous journeys across the English Channel.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the government has “put forward an unworkable, unethical, extremely expensive Rwanda plan that risks making trafficking worse.”

The Liberal Democrats echoed the sentiment, with MP Alistair Carmichael saying it was “immoral, ineffective and incredibly costly for taxpayers.”

More than 44,000 people who crossed the Channel in small boats have arrived in Britain this year, with several people drowning through the attempt.

Migration crisis has been another serious challenge for the UK government throughout the last years.

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