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Rwanda Deportations Update: June 14th Flight Cancelled

By June 15, 2022News story

Throughout June 14th, the fight against the deportation flight to Rwanda raged on.

Updates trickled in throughout the day. Lawyers had managed to get one more ticket cancelled, then another, then another. Finally, just after 10pm, it was confirmed. An intervention by the European Court of Human Rights meant that the flight would not be departing.

This is an essential outcome for the people seeking safety taken off this flight, and a heroic effort from the lawyers involved. However, it’s not a permanent injunction against Rwanda deportations.

The European Court of Human Rights intervened because a final decision about whether this policy is legal has yet to be made in UK courts. We should celebrate last night as a victory for justice, but the legal fight is far from over.

Although the flight has been stopped this time, we know that those in power will be absolutely furious at this result, and will keep pushing to do what we know is cruel and unjust.

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Being an asylum seeker is not a choice. People are forced to leave their homes and risk their lives to seek safety. Now they face deportation to the unknown and unsafe; to a country with a poor human rights record, that they have no connection to whatsoever.

Seeking asylum through the UK’s hostile asylum system is traumatic and leaves individuals like me with permanent scars.

Azadeh, who is a member of Refugee Action’s campaigns team, and who sought asylum in the UK said: “When I heard about the Rwanda plan for the first time, I felt quite shocked by its cruel nature, even for this government. Then I thought justice would find its place and the plan would never be implemented. How trusting and optimistic I was.

The Rwanda plan is the last strike to destroy what is left of asylum seekers’ esprit. As much as I experienced cruelty and hostility from the Government when I sought safety here – people like you welcomed me with open arms and warmth, held my hand in times of need, and became my family, my loved ones. England became home.

Priti Patel is crushing asylum seekers’ souls by pushing the plan forward. Which part of these measures is based on British values? Just imagine you take your wounded body to A&E and ask for help, then medics beat you up and leave you half dead instead of treating your injuries. This is what the Rwanda plan is.”

There has been an incredible movement of people fighting these ugly deportations over recent days and weeks. People have been protesting, contacting MPs, phoning airlines involved in the deportations and calling them out on social media – taking any and every action possible to show our disgust at the cruelty this Government is enacting. And it’s working.

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This is the beginning. We can only win if we continue to fight from all angles. We will only have won when every refugee in the UK is truly safe.

We cannot lose hope that a refugee protection system that is fair and compassionate is possible.

Today, we celebrate this win. We hold on to the strength and solidarity of our community that got us to this incredible place. Tomorrow, the fight continues.