London court to rule if government’s migrant deportation flights to Rwanda are legal

The London High Court will on Monday (December 19) make a ruling on whether the British government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is legal. 

Under a deal struck in April under the then Boris Johnson government, the UK plans to send tens of thousands of illegal migrants to Rwanda.

As per Reuters the first flight under the deal was planned for June this year but it was blocked by a last-minute injunction from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The strategy’s legality was also challenged by a judicial review at London High Court.

Watch | UK sees record migrant crossings despite Rwanda plan

Judges Jonathan Swift and Clive Lewis are presiding over the matter and the verdict is expected at around 1030 GMT (1600 IST).

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has staked his future on stopping the record number of migrants that arrive on Britain’s shores in small boats. In one of his first major policy announcements, Sunak had set out a plan to clamp down on these illegal immigrants. 

The PM had expressed his desire to restart the flights in spite of opposition from other lawmakers, the United Nations and even the monarch King Charles.

However, even if the court was to rule in favour of Sunak and his plans, the flights cannot be restarted straight away as further appeals could be filed challenging the verdict. Moreover, the ECHR injunction also bars any immediate deportations until a legal conclusion is reached in the country.

As per polls, immigration has become a major issue in the UK, rising up to the position of the third most important issue for voters. This comes as the nation experiences a record 40,000 arrivals this year.

However, opponents of the policy have termed it inhumane as Rwanda the destination country has a shady human rights record, and asylum seekers, their lawyers contest that the UK government’s plans do not comply with human rights conventions.

(With inputs from agencies)

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