By John Ikani
The UK’s Court of Appeal is set to decide later whether to allow the first flight to depart to Rwanda on Tuesday with asylum seekers.
A High Court Judge in London on Friday rejected a request from opponents of the plan to block Britain’s Rwanda asylum flights until the court had reached a decision on whether the program is illegal. The decision allows the flights to begin even as the broader legal challenge moves forward.
That ruling has been appealed to the Court of Appeal, which will hear the petition on Monday.
Heritage Times (HT) had earlier reported that the British Government plans to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing in an attempt to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel.
The English Channel, also called simply the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates Southern England from northern France and links to the southern part of the North Sea by the Strait of Dover at its northeastern end. It is the busiest shipping area in the world.
More than 28,500 people entered Britain on small boats last year, up from 1,843 in 2019, according to government statistics. The risk of such crossings was made clear on Nov. 24, when 27 people died after their inflatable boat sank in the waters between Britain and France.
Under the $148m (£120m) scheme, some asylum seekers will be sent to the central African country during a five-year trial.
But the move has been criticised by charities and opposition parties including Prince Charles who had privately described the policy as “appalling.”