Plane was scheduled to take 7 people to Kigali, but European Court of Human Rights remove them from flight
The first plane set to take off late Tuesday from the UK carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda in a controversial scheme will not take place, according to local reports.
The reported cancellation came after a last-minute intervention from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the cases of a number of asylum seekers scheduled to be on the flight.
The plane, which has been waiting on the tarmac at a military airbase in Boscombe Down in Amesbury most of the day, will now not go to Kigali tonight.
A Home Office official is quoted to have confirmed the cancellation according to Sky News.
The flight, as of Tuesday morning, was to take seven asylum seekers to Rwanda, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss earlier today said it would go ahead even with a small number of passengers.
Truss described the now-grounded flight as a “key part of our strategy for tackling the appalling people smugglers who are trading in people’s hopes and dreams.”
The plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda while their applications are processed has been criticized widely by many international organizations, pro-refugee NGOs and human rights groups.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the government “will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans to control our nation’s borders” after the first flight was stopped.
“I have always said this policy will not be easy to deliver and am disappointed that a legal challenge and last-minute claims have meant today’s flight was unable to depart,” she said.
Patel said she was surprised that the ECHR has intervened and “these repeated legal barriers are similar to those we experience with other removals flights and many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next.”
“We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans to control our nation’s borders. Our legal team is reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now.”