UK condemns court decision to block Rwanda deportation

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab

UK's Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab

Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, on Thursday, said the European court in Strasbourg overstepped its powers in blocking the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

He however said that Britain has no plan to leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) thwarted the government’s attempt to send a handful of migrants on a charter plane to Rwanda.

Raab, who is also Britain’s Justice Secretary, criticised the Strasbourg-based court for essentially blocking the flight, part of a policy that London said would stem the flow of migrants making dangerous trips across the English Channel from France.

He said the flights would take place despite criticism from the United Nations, the leadership of the Church of England, and Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, who had privately described the plan as “appalling,” according to media reports.

“Our plans involve staying within the convention, the European Convention.” It is also important that the Strasbourg court reflects and stays faithful to its mandate as part of the convention, “he told BBC television.

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“The Strasbourg court itself has said for many years that there’s no binding power of injunction.

“And then, later on, they said: “Well, actually, we can issue such binding injunctions.” It is not grounded in the convention, “Raab told Sky News.

The European Court’s late intervention had led some in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party to call for Britain to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights altogether.

Challenged over death threats on social media to human rights lawyers, Raab said they were unacceptable but Britain’s Human Rights Act had led to an “industry” of lawyers promoting “elastic interpretations” of the law on behalf of their clients.

He added that the government could not give a fixed date for when it would be able to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.


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