As court rules Rwanda offshore detention is lawful, anti racists vow to keep up the fight to #StopRwanda deportation flights

As court rules Rwanda offshore detention is lawful, anti racists vow to keep up the fight to #StopRwanda deportation flights

Anti racists are pledging to keep up the fight against the government’s policy to deport asylum seekers to offshore detention in Rwanda following high court decision to find the policy lawful in its deliberation of the cases that brought legal challenges led by the PCS union and Care4Calais. 
While judges dismissed the challenge that the policy is unlawful, the Home Office was rebuked over attempt to deport eight people in June. 
Yet, deportation flights will not be able to take off yet to Rwanda, with further appeals to come, and the European court of human rights injunction in the summer that prevented immediate deportations until the legal process has been exhausted.
The decision at the court took place as anti racists, supporters and representatives from Care4Calais, Stand Up To Racism, the TUC, PCS union and others gathered to show the ongoing opposition to the policy. It comes after waves of #StopRwanda offshore detention protests in June, July and again in September accompanying the process of legal challenge hearings. The #StopRwanda campaign, which is led by Stand Up To Racism, Care4Calais, the TUC, and supported by the PCS and 13 other trade unions alongside other campaigns and organisations, including Refugee Council and Amnesty International as well as many political and cultural figures, got its demand trending twice in July when the hearing was postponed and again in September when it was rescheduled. 
As four more deaths take place in the icy waters of the Channel, just a week after the anniversary of 32 lives lost when a small boat capsized and desperate calls were ignored for 11 hours by British and French authorities, anti racists are saying loud and clear that refugees are welcome here and that we need to end the racist hostile environment, from scrapping the Nationality and Borders Act, scrapping the Rwanda policy and providing safe passage via visas to seek asylum in Britain for all. 

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We’re disappointed the court hasn’t found in our favour in respect of the general legality of the policy, but we’re pleased that eight refugees have had their decisions quashed and will not be deported to Rwanda at this stage.  

“The government’s entire approach to Channel crossings has been morally reprehensible and utterly inhumane, displaying a total disregard for refugees and our members, who want to work in a system that is humane and fair, and that offers dignity and respect for refugees and workers alike.

“We’re reading what is a long and complex judgment and considering our position on a potential appeal. 

“Regardless of the legality of the policy, it remains morally reprehensible and utterly inhumane and we call on the Home Office to recognise that and abandon it.  

“The policy isn’t a deterrent. The only way to protect human life and prevent people from drowning in the Channel is to give them safe passage. PCS will continue our campaign to secure it.” 

Weyman Bennett, co-convener of Stand Up To Racism, said:

“In practice government policy criminalises those seeking asylum in Britain, as are no safe routes. We have a racist government seeking scapegoat refugees and make thier lives impossible. We should oppose this ruling and fight for rights of refugees, we will oppose every flight and attempted deportation.

“Let’s say loud and clear, refugees are welcome here, and that we won’t let racism divide us, and we won’t allow a narrative that blames the most vulnerable to continue. It shouldn’t matter whether your religion is Muslim or Christian, or if you’re black or white, or your gender – we demand that everyone’s human rights are protected.” 

“On 18 March 2023, we will stand internationally with tens of thousands around the world to mark UN Anti racism day on demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff and demand an end to racist borders policies, inhumane detention and say refugees are welcome here. We demand the immediate creation of safe passage for all.”
Responding to the High Court’s judgement on the Rwanda legal challenge, Clare Moseley, the founder of refugee charity Care4Calais said:
“We are disappointed with the outcome and are discussing next steps with our legal team. We remain steadfast in our opposition to the Rwanda policy and in our determination to ensure that no refugee is forcibly deported. This is the first court to consider the lawfulness of the UK-Rwanda deal. We will consider our position in respect of the Court of Appeal.
“We are relieved for the individual claimants whom the Court has ruled should not be removed to Rwanda.
“However, there are potentially thousands more people seeking asylum in the UK who are, right now and in the future, potentially facing the threat of removal to Rwanda under this cruel and unworkable policy.  It is for all of them that we made this challenge and for them we must continue to pursue it. 
“People who have suffered the horrors of war, torture and human rights abuses should not be faced with the immense trauma of deportation to a future where we cannot guarantee their safety.  We believe that sending refugees to Rwanda will breach our county’s obligations under International Treaties and we continue to believe this policy is unlawful. 
“A person’s right to asylum is based on the level of danger they are escaping from and does not depend on how they travel to the place where they are seeking sanctuary. It is both appalling and grotesque that our government is basing policies that should protect the lives of vulnerable people on misinformation and misdirection.  Criminalising refugees because there are no safe routes available to them is victim blaming. 
“The majority of people we work with in Calais come from countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Sudan that have asylum acceptance rates that are as high as 82 – 98%..  They are people who have been brave and resilient enough to have escaped from the very worst things in this world and they urgently need our help. 
“The Rwanda plan won’t end small boat crossings and it won’t keep refugees safe. There is a kinder and more effective way; giving safe passage to refugees in Calais.”
Wilf Sullivan, Race Equality Officer at the TUC, added:

“The Government has doubled down on closing legal routes into our country for those fleeing war and oppression.“The TUC are calling on the government to stop playing politics with people’s rights and provide safe routes for those seeking asylum and safety in the UK.”

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