Home Office denies second flight to Rwanda could be scheduled for next week

Matthew Gullick QC denied that a second flight could be scheduled for next week

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A second deportation flight to Rwanda on Thursday has been ruled out in the High Court.

QC for the claimants, Raza Husain, said: “I’m told there is a flight Thursday as well."

But Mathew Gullick QC, for the Home Office, denied it.

“It is a different charter flight with a different destination,” he said.

There are 31 people expected to be on Tuesday’s scheduled flight, the court heard this afternoon.

Two more people due to be deported to Rwanda next week have had their removal directions cancelled, the High Court has been told.

Home Secretary Priti Patel
Home Secretary Priti Patel

Mathew Gullick QC, for the Home Office, said: “I’m instructed that claimants eight and 11 are going to have their removal directions cancelled.”

Laura Dubinsky QC, for UNHCR, addressed the court, stating how the agency is concerned about the risk of “serious, irreparable harm” caused to refugees sent to Rwanda, adding the body “in no way endorses the UK-Rwandan arrangement”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation, Vincent Biruta
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation, Vincent Biruta

The barrister said the agency had “serious concerns about Rwandan capacity”.

She added: “UNHCR itself is not in a position to rectify those deficiencies.

“UNHCR is not involved in the UK-Rwanda arrangement, despite assertions to the contrary made by the Secretary of State.”

“The problems described are deep-rooted structural problems, they are not capable of speedy resolution,” the barrister continued.

Reports follow news of increasing legal challenges which have been issued on behalf of a number of people who have received notification they will be removed on a flight due to leave the UK on Tuesday June 14.

Alongside those, there are further challenges to the policy brought by the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which represents more than 80 percent of Border Force staff, as well as refugee campaign groups and charities including Care4Calais, Asylum Aid and Detention Action.

Lawyers acting for the groups say the policy is unlawful and are seeking an urgent injunction at a hearing today to stop next week’s planned flight, and any other such flights, ahead of a full hearing of the case later in the year.

The Government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda is “not safe”, lawyers added.

Migrants due to be given a one-way ticket to the east African nation as part of Home Secretary Priti Patel’s bid to curb Channel crossings, as well as campaign groups and a union, have asked judges to block their upcoming deportation flight.

Up to 130 people have been notified they could be removed.