Syrian refugees are believed to be on the list of people set to be deported to Rwanda in a fortnight, well-informed sources revealed.
The claims came as UK Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the government will deport its first set of migrants to Rwanda on 14 June as part of its Rwanda Asylum Plan, widely condemned by human rights groups.
The first flight to Rwanda is expected to leave on 14 June, and an initial group of migrants was sent formal letters informing them they would be deported. 15 Syrians have already been told they will be sent to Rwanda in a few days.
The policy has come under strong criticism by numerous rights groups and charities, seeking an injunction to stop the first planned deportations.
At the High Court, lawyers representing some of those migrants, along with charities and a trade union, asked for an injunction to stop the flight going ahead, saying the government’s position was based on false assurances about Rwanda’s ability to offer protection to asylum seekers and process their claims.
Clare Moseley, the founder of Care4Calais, said about 130 migrants faced deportation, and many of those come from Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
“The pleaded case by the Secretary of State that Rwanda provides safe asylum is irrational,” said Claire Moseley.
Moseley said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had raised concerns about the scheme, contrary to the government’s suggestions the agency had given it the green light.
“This is a false claim,” he said, calling it “misleading and inaccurate.”
“We have spoken to nearly 100 people in detention who’ve been told they will be forcibly sent to Rwanda. Almost all are overwhelmed by total shock and despair.”
“Many came to the UK believing it to be a good place that would treat them more fairly than the places from which they escaped. We say that the Rwanda plan is unlawful. We hope the courts will agree with us.”
The government’s plan has raised an outcry among human rights groups, opposition left-wing and liberal lawmakers as well as some in Johnson’s Conservative Party.
We also call on the UK government to stop this brutal and racist policy that will harm many innocent people as it clearly violates refugees’ rights. The policy mainly targets refugees from MENA countries such as Syria, Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen, who arrived in the UK in small boats and were likely to be fleeing persecution.