Priti Patel’s Rwanda plan for UK asylum seekers faces first legal challenge | Refugees

The first legal action has been launched against Priti Patel’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as the UN refugee agency raised concerns that the UK ” invites” other European countries to adopt the same divisive immigration policy.

Filed last Tuesday, the legal challenge says the Home Secretary’s proposals breach international law and the UN Refugee Convention, as well as UK data protection law.

Lawyers believe Rwanda’s plans are a ‘publicity stunt’ to discourage people crossing the Channel in small boats. Patel refuses to release key framework documents explaining which migrants may be eligible for deportation.

Larry Bottinick, UNHCR’s acting representative in Britain, told the Observer“We fear that they [the British] invite all their European counterparts to do the same. I can understand from their perspective why they would do this – it would give such transactions greater perceived legitimacy if others did the same. Denmark has already shown interest in outsourcing parts of its asylum system to Rwanda.

Bottinick added that Britain would welcome other countries that follow suit, as it would mean even fewer refugees going to northern France. He warned: “This would increase pressure on states neighboring conflict zones which are already hosting the vast majority of people seeking refuge.

The action was launched by the law firm InstaLaw. The Home Office has three weeks to respond and the process could lead to Patel being challenged in the High Court. Stuart Luke, a partner at InstaLaw, said their case was based on an Iranian asylum seeker who believes he would face an extremely difficult time if sent to Rwanda. “He could be the only Iranian in the country, there is no network there, no community, no one who speaks the language. How will he get out of this, survive? How will he find a job, get an education? says Luke.

The Home Office initially assured it would not deport him until May 10 – but on Friday the ministry backtracked and said it was not seeking to deport him.

Bottinick said the UNHCR had “serious concerns” about how the Home Office and Rwanda intended to integrate non-African asylum seekers who made up the vast majority of arrivals in the UK. United.

“There will be such basic issues as interpretation for Vietnamese and Albanian speakers. Major arrivals to the UK also include Iranians, Iraqis and Syrians. We have serious concerns about Rwanda’s ability to integrate these groups.

The legal move came as campaigners accused Patel of “racist” and “inhumane” Rwandan policies during his appearance at a Conservative Party dinner. The Home Secretary was speaking at a dinner party hosted by Bassetlaw Conservatives in Nottinghamshire on Friday when several campaigners rose from their chairs and denounced her for the policy.

Footage posted to social media shows a woman standing up and saying to Patel: “Priti Patel, your racist policies are killing people. Your plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda are inhumane and will ruin people’s lives. The woman was booed before being taken away. A number of other activists then stood up and made statements.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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