The first flight deporting illegal migrants and refugees from the United Kingdom to Rwanda will leave on June 14, the country’s Home Secretary, Priti Sushil Patel, announced on Thursday.
To that effect, a group of asylum seekers in the UK has been sent formal notices that they will be deported to Rwanda.
In a Home Office statement, the spokesperson said that they have begun issuing formal removal direction letters to those who are set to go to Rwanda where they will be able to rebuild their lives in safety.
The statement noted that the flight to Rwanda deporting migrants and refugees who came to the UK without authorisation is set to leave on the 14th of this month and deportees have been sent notices.
Presently, there are few details about how many people will be sent to Rwanda on June, or how they have been identified.
This also comes in the midst of strong criticism from charities and organisations over the plans, as well as legal challenges the government are set to face regarding the decision.
Legal Challenges and Criticisms
Officials form the UN have said that the Rwanda deportation plans violate the International Refugee Convention, while human rights groups have called the deal inhumane and a waste of taxpayer’s money.
The UK is believed to have paid Rwanda around 120 million pounds upfront to put the plans in action.
Meanwhile, The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents civil servants, has joined forces with refugee advocacy groups to demand transparency from the Home Office on their methods of selecting migrants for deportation.
The union has also pressured the government regarding doubts of how much the plans actually comply with both domestic law and the Geneva Convention.
Last week, prime minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to the plan despite these challenges.
“Of course, there are going to be legal eagles, liberal lawyers, who will try to make this difficult to settle.
“We always knew this was going to happen, but it is a very, very sensible thing,” he told reporters in Southampton.
“Completely Unworkable” and “Deeply Un-British”
The deportation announcement was met with further criticism from the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper.
“The Rwanda scheme isn’t about deterring the criminal gangs or small boat crossings, it’s about chasing headlines regardless of reality,” she said in a statement.
“This is a completely unworkable, extortionately expensive, and deeply un-British policy. There is no proper process for identifying people who have been trafficked or tortured.”
However, Priti Patel has maintained that deporting asylum seekers to migrants is “a key part of our strategy to overhaul the broken asylum system”.
She said that she “will not be deterred and remain fully committed to delivering what the British public expect.”
The Home Office has stated that they are speaking with all individuals set to be deported, ensuring that they understand the process and that they are being given appropriate support before being sent to Rwanda.