There are expected to be 11 asylum seekers on the first flight, down from 37 originally scheduled to fly: 20 planned removals were called off over the weekend due to legal challenges relating to modern slavery and human rights claims. The charity Care4Calais has said 9 Afghans have been notified by the Home Office that they have been identified for removal, alongside Sudanese, Syrians, Iranians, Egyptians, Iraqi, Pakistani, Albanian, Algerian, Chadian, Eritrean, Turkish and Vietnamese people.
On Friday, a High Court judge rejected campaigners’ bid for an injunction to stop the Home Office’s first deportation flight to Rwanda, though it did result in five people being saved from the removals list. The judicial review was submitted by the Public and Commercial Services Union, the charity Care4Calais, and the civil society Detention for Action. The case challenged key aspects of the policy, including; Patel’s right to carry out the removals, the claim that Rwanda is a “safe third country”, the adequacy of provision for malaria prevention in Rwanda, and whether it upholds the principles of the Human Rights Act. In addition, the court heard that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had several concerns about removals plan, including the potential discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and the lack of legal representation for those facing removal and upon arriving in Rwanda.
While the courts did not step in to prevent the wider process of removals at this stage, Mr Justice Swift did grant the groups permission to appeal Friday’s verdict. Asylum Aid also applied for an urgent interim injunction on Thursday preventing any flights from leaving. The injunction, also supported by Freedom from Torture, will be heard on Monday as will the appeal for Friday’s hearing.