News Summary - June (part 1)

First deportation flight to Rwanda cancelled at the last minute, a rising number of refugees crossing the channel from Afghanistan, and more - read Asad's news summary for the first half of June!


Refugee Council has warned that the threat of deportation to Rwanda is having catastrophic effects on the mental health of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK. This comes after reports that an Afghan man facing deportation to Rwanda, despite being in the UK since he was a child, tried to take his own life. There are similar reports of an Iranian asylum seeker who also attempted suicide after being given notice of deportation. - The Independent


The UNHCR has said that a “clear majority” of those who are crossing the channel are refugees, and should not be called migrants. Last year, Home Secretary Priti Patel told peers that 70% of those crossing the channel were “single men” and “economic migrants”. The UNHCR has refuted these government figures, with a new analysis showing that 77% of those crossing the channel would fit the definition of refugee. -The Guardian


A rising number of refugees crossing the channel to the UK originate from Afghanistan - in particular, Afghans who have links to the West. In the first quarter of this year, 1094 Afghans crossed the channel to claim asylum in the UK, as compared to the 1323 Afghans who crossed in the entirety of 2021. Refugee charities have said this rise is a consequence of the restrictive nature of the UK’s Afghan resettlement scheme. -The Guardian


Charities have accused the Home Office of attempting to deport unaccompanied children to Rwanda. This comes after concerns were raised about the accuracy of Home Office age assessments, which left one under 18 detained, awaiting potential deportation before being released after legal intervention. Clare Moseley, the founder of Care4Calais, has said that the Home Office has issued notices of deportation to Rwanda to two individuals who are currently still in the process of disputing their age assessment. Daniel Sohege, campaigns manager for Love146 UK, has said that he has seen “children as young as 14 being incorrectly age-assessed as 23”. - The Guardian


The UNHCR has intervened in the High Court proceedings regarding the Rwanda deportation plan, stating that Priti Patel had misled refugees over the organisation's position on the plan. Letters sent out by the Home Office to those seeking asylum suggested that the UNHCR was “closely involved” in the scheme. The organisation refutes this, with Laura Dubinsky, the barrister for the UNHCR, saying that they “in no way endorse” the plan, and that they told the government that they believed it to be “unlawful”. - The Guardian


Amnesty International has released a statement ahead of the first deportation flight from the UK to Rwanda; “Expelling people seeking asylum to Rwanda - a country with its own asylum and human rights challenges to address - is irresponsible, callous and a disaster in the making”. - Amnesty International


The first deportation flight to Rwanda was cancelled at the last minute following a ruling by the European court of human rights. The flight was planned to go ahead with only seven asylum seekers - down from 130 after successfully lodged appeals. Enver Solomon, CEO of Refugee Council, explained: “Those threatened with removal are people who have escaped war, persecution, torture, and violence – many of whom have only been prevented from flying due to individual legal interventions declaring it a clear breach of their human rights to do so. The Refugee Council has also had to directly intervene to stop young people being removed to Rwanda because they were falsely assessed as adults." Priti Patel said the government was 'disappointed' by the ECHR intervention. The Guardian reported: "The attritional impact of the individual challenges since the flight was announced is remarkable – but the bigger battle is the full-blown judicial review that’s due in July." - The Guardian 



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