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Groups begin urgent judicial review proceedings in High Court ahead of next week’s first planned flight to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda


Care4Calais, Public and Commercial Services Union and Detention Action will argue policy is unlawful on multiple bases

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Care4Calais announced yesterday that it had begun urgent judicial review proceedings in the High Court ahead of the Home Office's first planned flight next Tuesday to remove asylum seekers to Rwanda under the recent migration partnership between the UK and the East African country.

Justice statueThe legal action is being brought by Care4Calais together with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Detention Action, and four asylum seekers who are scheduled to be on next week's flight.

The organisations will argue that the Rwanda removals policy, as well as the removals of the four individual asylum seekers specifically, are unlawful on multiple bases.

Care4Calais added: "These bases include, but are not limited to: the vires or legal authority of the Home Secretary to carry out the removals; the rationality of the Secretary of State's conclusion that Rwanda is generally a 'safe third country'; the adequacy of provision for malaria prevention; and compliance with the Human Rights Act."

An injunction is also being sought to stop next week's flight.

Mark Serwotka, the General Secretary of the PCS, said in a statement: "PCS believes that the government's Rwanda plan is unlawful. In the past 5 years, we have lodged five judicial review applications against the government where they have breached the law. We are determined to hold them to account over this latest scheme."

Detention Action's deputy director, James Wilson, commented that Home Secretary Priti Patel has overstepped her authority by rushing through an unlawful policy, and she was turning a blind eye to the many clear dangers and human rights violations that it would inflict on people seeking asylum.

In an update on Twitter this morning, Care4Calais said the hearing in the High Court has been listed for tomorrow morning.

According to the Daily Mail, Home Office sources said the chances of the flight taking off next week were now 'slim'.

On Twitter yesterday, Care4Calais said it was now working with 100 people in detention who have been told they are going to be removed to Rwanda, of which 13 have been told they will be removed next Tuesday.

A total of 130 asylum seekers are reported to have been issued with Rwanda removal notices by the Home Office. All 130 are expected to challenge the legality of their removal. The Daily Mail said that 90 appeals had been submitted by last night and the remaining 40 were imminent.

Al Jazeera reported yesterday that it had spoken to 15 people being detained at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre near Heathrow who are scheduled to be sent to Rwanda. More than 60 detainees at Colnbrook are set to be removed.

A Syrian man told Al Jazeera: "I don't see any reason why I should go to a country in Africa where I don't have relatives and family. I don't know the people there. I will refuse to go, but if the UK government insists on my deportation to Kigali and forces me to the plane, I will take my own life."

A number of detainees are on hunger strike. One from Sudan said: "I fled Darfur due to conflict. Kidnapping and taking me to Rwanda is against my basic human rights and to protest that, I am on hunger strike."

The Home Office announced last week that it had begun issuing formal removal direction letters to people who are set to be removed to Rwanda.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "[W]hile we know attempts will now be made to frustrate the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and remain fully committed to delivering what the British public expect."

Garden Court's Colin Yeo noted on Twitter yesterday: "The relevant key provisions of the new Nationality and Borders Act 2022 do not come into force until 28 June. The government is relying on old, unreformed asylum laws from 2004 to conduct the removals to Rwanda on 14 June. It's almost like they want a legal challenge to succeed. […] If the government can successfully rely on the 2004 legislation to remove to Rwanda, it does cause me to wonder why the hell the government wasted everyone's time with the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, I have to say."

Both Yeo and Garden Court's Stephanie Harrison QC yesterday gave evidence on the Rwanda policy to Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights. You can watch the session here.