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Legal campaign forces government to delay deportations to Rwanda

Campaigners say the postponement was a direct response to a letter sent to the Home Office as part of a legal challenge to the policy

LEGAL action has forced the government to delay its first refugee deportation flights to Rwanda, campaigners claimed today. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last weekend that 50 asylum-seekers who came to Britain by crossing the Channel in small boats have been given notice that they are to be flown to the African nation within the next fortnight. 

But campaigners said they had heard on Wednesday evening that the Rwanda flights will not now take place until at least June 6.

Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed on Wednesday, following a meeting with Rwandan Foreign Minister Dr Vincent Biruta, that she was pushing ahead with plans to send asylum-seekers on a one-way ticket to the country despite widespread opposition. 

Care4Calais founder Clare Mosely said the postponement of the flights was a direct response to a letter sent to the Home Office earlier in the week as part of the charity’s legal challenge to the policy.

Ms Mosely added that the charity has been trying to locate people who have already been detained pending deportation to Rwanda. 

“So far, we have found six of these people and their stories are heartbreaking — people who have escaped from cruel horrors in their home countries and suffered forced labour, torture and exploitation on long journeys to reach safety here,” she said. 

“Yet now they are facing a terrifying ordeal of further deportation across the globe to a country where they will never feel safe.”

One asylum-seeker who has been given notice of the Home Office’s intention to deport him to Rwanda said that he would rather commit suicide than be sent away. 

“I will kill myself before I get deported. If the UK as a government and a country cannot uphold human rights, who will?” he told the PA news agency from Brook House detention centre. 

The trainee engineer from war-torn Sudan added: “I was trying to get here for six years to rebuild my life. 

“Upon receiving the news from the Home Office, once I realised I was being moved to Rwanda, I wrote down my will and asked my solicitor to send my goodbye letter and my will to my mother and my wife.

“For which crime am I being sent to Rwanda?”

The Morning Star has spoken to other asylum-seekers who vowed to kill themselves rather than be deported to that country. 

A Home Office spokesman said that the first flights are expected to take place in the coming months. 

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