Skip to main content

There should be no deportations to Rwanda until policy is tested in the courts, border guard's union says

ASYLUM-SEEKERS should not be deported to Rwanda until the legality of the policy is tested in the courts, a trade union leader has said. 

A charter flight to the African nation carrying asylum-seekers from countries including Syria, Iran and Iraq is scheduled for Tuesday after a High Court judge ruled on Friday that it could go ahead. 

Campaigners have appealed against the decision, which will be heard in the High Court on Monday. 

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka, the union representing 80 per cent of Border Force staff, said that he was hopeful the appeal would be successful. 

The union is among a group of organisations and four asylum-seekers that applied for an injunction to halt the flights until a judicial review challenging the legality of the policy is heard in July. 

Mr Serwotka questioned Home Secretary Priti Patel’s level of respect for her own employees over her decision to force civil servants to carry out a policy that might later be found to be illegal. 

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “Imagine if you’re told to do something on Tuesday, that in July is subsequently found to be illegal. That would be an appalling situation.

“I mean, if Patel had any respect, not just for the desperate people who come to this country, but for the workers she employs, she would not ask a single one of them to be part of any deportation of any asylum-seeker, until at least these cases are heard in court for the full legality judgment, which will be in July.”

Defending the policy in the High Court on Friday, Home Office lawyers said that the deal was in the “public interest” to deter people from making dangerous journeys to Britain, including crossing the Channel in small boats. 

But the government is facing growing opposition to the plans from all sections of British society, with reports that even Prince Charles has branded the policy “appalling.”

On Sunday, refugee rights groups held a “solidarity demo” outside Brook House detention centre near Gatwick, where many of the people with removal directions to Rwanda are being held. 

Another protest is planned on Monday at 5.30pm outside the Home Office building in London.

Both demonstrations have been organised by Soas Detainee Support, Migrants Organise and refugee-led charity Life Seekers Aid. 

OWNED BY OUR READERS

We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 3.685
We need:£ 14,315
25 Days remaining
Donate today