‘The fight continues’: Lawyers and charities get ready to challenge further Rwanda deportations

Lawyers and charities have vowed to continue to fight the Home Office’s “cruel” policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda despite the Home Secretary saying preparation for the next flight “begins now”.

Campaign groups called the grounding of the flight a “victory for campassion” and promised to continue fighting to prevent further flights to Rwanda.

Cabinet minister Therese Coffey said on Wednesday that the Home Office was “getting ready for the next flight”. She added that the government would challenge the European Court of Human Rights ruling that grounded Tuesday night’s plane.

But the deputy director of campaign group Detention Action, James Wilson, said that the ECHR ruled recognised that “no one should be forced on a plane until our substantial legal challege against this policy is heard by the High Court next month”.

Sonya Sceats, chief executive at Freedom from Torture, said that the legal fight was “far from over”. She said that to defeat “this government’s morally bankrupt policies, we must do so at the source – by building people power to take cruel policies like this ‘off the table’”.

She added: “It is crucial we maintain this unity for the battles ahead; not only to prevent future flights to Rwanda but also Boris Johnson’s wider assault on human rights.”

Duncan Lewis solicitors described their legal efforts on Wednesday, saying: “In the last five days, we have been in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and ECtHR.”

They added: “No one went to Rwanda yesterday. No one is above the law. The fight continues.”

Jacqueline Mackenzie, head of immigration at Leigh Day, highlighted that the lawfulness of the Home Office’s policy is set to be tested in the courts in July.

Speaking before the flight was cancelled, Ms Mackenzie told The Independent: “The substantive case, whether the scheme is lawful or not, is going to be heard in a few weeks time. So what is this haste to get people out now and so few people?

“They are going ahead with it anyway on the basis they can bring people back. What if their article 3 rights are impinged in the meantime? Why take the risk of a few weeks?”

Professor of Media and Criminal Justice Jon Silverman said that the prime minister’s claims that the Rwanda plan would “break the business model of the people traffickers” was unfounded.


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