Rwanda migrant flights delayed following legal challenge by charities and civil service union

The Home Office has agreed to hold back all migrant flights to Rwanda until after June 6

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The first flights sending migrants to Rwanda have been delayed following a legal challenge by charities and a civil service union.

The Government announced in April a deal that would see some migrants sent to Rwanda for processing.

But the scheme has been delayed by a legal challenge, which claims the policy breaches the refugee convention and human rights law.

Priti Patel
Priti Patel
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent

Charities Care4Calais and Detention Action sent “pre-action” letters to the Home Office this week, lining out their intentions.

While the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union is also understood to be preparing a legal challenge.

As a result, the Home Office has agreed to hold back all migrant flights to Rwanda until after June 6.

Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, said she was “relieved” by the decision on the flights.

She said: “This was a direct response to our second letter sent on Tuesday as part of our legal action against the Rwanda plan.

“Up until last night (the Government) had been indicating that flights could take place next week.”

The news comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan foreign minister Vincent Biruta travelled to Geneva yesterday for meetings with the UN’s refugee agency the UNHCR and other bodies.

Ms Patel said on Wednesday that work was taking place “right now” to roll out the deportation policy as part of plans to curb Channel crossings, and discussed progress on the agreement in a meeting with Mr Biruta.

The Home Secretary said she was “pushing ahead with delivering this world-leading plan which epitomises the kind of international approach that is required to tackle an international challenge like the migration crisis”.

Since the start of this year, 8,697 people have reached the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats, according to analysis of Government data.

Crossings resumed on Thursday, amid bad weather at sea, after none were recorded on Wednesday.