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Controversial UK deportation flight to Rwanda grounded after all asylum-seekers removed

The inaugural flight of a controversial UK government scheme to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda was stopped on Tuesday at the eleventh hour, after an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

According to the UK’s PA Media news agency, “all migrants have been removed from the plane and the flight to Rwanda will not take off as scheduled tonight.”
Britain’s government had announced the deal with the east African country in April. Those people granted asylum would then be allowed to resettle in Rwanda. The government insisted the program was aimed at disrupting people-smuggling networks and deterring migrants from making the dangerous sea journey across the Channel to England from France.
Advocacy groups had initiated multiple legal challenges to stop the aircraft, including veja sneakers an appeal that was rejected by the Court of Appeal in London on Monday. Several dozen asylum seekers saw their tickets canceled, Care4Calais refugee charity said, leaving just seven people due to be deported by Tuesday morning.
But on the evening that the plane was expected to depart, the ECHR issued a series of rulings in the cases of the last Rwanda-bound asylum-seekers, ordering the British government not to remove them.
A Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said the country is “not deterred” after the UK deportation flight to Rwanda was grounded.
“We are not deterred by these developments. Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work,” Makolo said in a statement sent to CNN Wednesday.
“The current situation of people making dangerous journeys cannot continue as it is causing untold suffering to so many. Rwanda stands ready to receive the migrants when they do arrive and offer them safety and opportunity in our country,” Makolo added.
In its ruling for one Iraqi national, the ECHR said: “The European Court has indicated to the UK Government that the applicant should not be removed to Rwanda until three weeks after the delivery of the final domestic decision in his ongoing judicial review proceedings.”
The ECHR essentially found that that asylum seeker had not exhausted all legal proceedings in the UK, with British courts planning to hear the applicant’s judicial review challenge in July, and should not be removed until having done so.
“BREAKING: Last ticket cancelled,” tweeted Care4Calais, upon news of the flight cancellation. “NO ONE IS GOING TO RWANDA.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also reacted, tweeting: “Tonight’s inhumane deportation of asylum seekers to #Rwanda has been stopped by the ECtHR – minutes before it was due to depart. Sending people fleeing violence to a country thousands of miles away was already cruel and callous. It’s now potentially unlawful too.”
The development is a rebuff to the UK government, after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the deportation flight would depart regardless of how many people were on board.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said Tuesday evening that she was “disappointed” that the flight had been halted, and that her office was reviewing the legality of the decision. The government plans to move forward with the project, she also said.
“Access to the UK’s asylum system must be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers. The demands on the current system, the cost to the taxpayer, and the flagrant abuses are increasing, and the British public have rightly had enough,” Patel said.
“I have always said this policy will not be easy to deliver and am disappointed that legal challenge and last-minute claims have meant today’s flight was unable to depart,” she added.
A hostel that housed Rwanda genocide survivors prepares to take in people deported by the UK
Despite the government’s attempts to justify the scheme, criticism of the plan has continued to grow. Church of England leaders on Tuesday called it an “immoral policy that shames Britain” in a joint letter to The Times newspaper.
“Rwanda is a brave country recovering from catastrophic genocide. The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum aldo shoes seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries,” the letter reads.
“Many are desperate people fleeing unspeakable horrors. Many are Iranians, Eritreans and Sudanese citizens, who have an asylum grant rate of at least 88 per cent,” it continued. “We cannot offer asylum to everyone, but we must not outsource our ethical responsibilities, or discard international law — which protects the right to claim asylum.”
In response, Truss told Sky News that the Rwanda flights policy was “completely moral” and that critics “need to suggest an alternative policy that will work.”
Demonstrators protest outside of an airport perimeter fence against a planned deportation of asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda, at Gatwick Airport on June 12, 2022.
Demonstrators protest outside of an airport perimeter fence against a planned deportation of asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda, at Gatwick Airport on June 12, 2022.

‘Incredibly dangerous’ journey

According to data from the UK Home office, 28,526 people arrived to the United Kingdom on small boats in 2021. The vast majority of them, 23,655, were men and nearly two thirds came from just four countries: Iran (7,874), Iraq (5,414), Eritrea (2,829) and Syria (2,260).
Care4Calais said the reason the majority of refugees are male is the result of fleeing their homelands where “young men may be killed to stop them rebelling against the government, or forced into military service.”
It also explained the journey to Calais is “incredibly dangerous” and that “many families will not risk their daughters safety on a journey to Europe. The hope is the men who escape will then help them to safety.”
Almost all of the people who come on small boats — 98% off those who arrived in 2020 — have applied for asylum.
The Refugee Council said that most people arriving by small boats across the Channel are likely to be genuine refugees fleeing persecution.
Statistics from the Home Office show that people arriving to the UK from Iran (88%), Eritrea (97%) and Syria (98%) have generally high chances of being granted asylum.
The chances are significantly smaller for Iraqi citizens — only 48% of the decisions made in 2021 were positive.
The Refugee Council said that on cloud shoes overall, around 75% of initial asylum decisions made in the year to March 2022 were positive and that of those who were rejected, about half were allowed asylum appeal.
More recently, the number of people coming on small boats has been increasing. The Home Office said 4,540 people arrived in the first three months of the year, more than three times higher than the same three months in 2021.
The number of people arriving was boosted by much higher numbers of people coming from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover last summer.
The Home Office said 1,094 Afghan citizens came to the UK in the first quarter of 2022, almost as many as arrived over the entire 2021.

An average £183,000 per flight

The UK has said it will pay Rwanda £120 million ($145 million) over the next five years to finance the program. On top of that, the UK has also promised to pay for the processing and integration costs for each relocated person, covering the cost of legal advice, caseworkers, translators, accommodation, food and healthcare.
According to a parliamentary research briefing, the British government said it expects these will be similar to asylum processing costs in the UK, which stand at around £12,000 per person.
The UK has refused to disclose the cost of the flights it will charter to transport deportees to Rwanda. The Home Office said in its latest annual report it paid £8.6 million to charter 47 deportation flights carrying 883 people in 2020. While the cost of individual flights varied depending on the destination, the figures mean that on average, the Home Office spent £183,000 per flight or £9,700 per person.
Because there is no cap on the number of migrants, thousands could potentially pour into the capital Kigali within the first five years of the plan.

‘We’re doing this for the right reasons’

Ahead of the aircraft’s previously-scheduled departure, the Rwandan government said it was standing ready to receive asylum-seekers from the UK and that it will do its best “to make sure the migrants are taken care of.”
“We are asking that this program be given a chance,” said Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo at a press conference in the Kigali on Tuesday.
Makolo responded to the Church of England leaders’ condemnation saying, “we don’t think it’s immoral to offer a home to people — something we have done here for more than 30 years.”
“Where we’re coming from, we’re doing this for the right reasons. We want this to be a welcoming place and we’ll do our best to make sure the migrants are taken care of and that they’re able to build a life here,” she added.
Although Rwanda is offering to help with migrants’ resettlement to a third country by providing travel transportation if they manage to obtain legal residence, “the primary objective [of the scheme] is to fully integrate them into Rwandan society,” said Doris Uwicyeza Picard, the chief advisor to the Minister of Justice.
“There are legal paths to citizenship for migrant workers and for refugees provided they are eligible for citizenship,” she added.
The scheme will last five years, but Rwanda intends to turn it into a binding treaty at a later stage, said Picard.

UK judge allows first flight sending asylum-seekers to Rwanda to go ahead

The United Kingdom’s controversial plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda as early as next week was green-lit on Friday, after the High Court in London denied an injunction to block the first flight.

Britain’s government announced in April that it had agreed a deal to send asylum-seekers to the East African country, in a move that it insisted was aimed at disrupting people-smuggling networks and deterring migrants from making the dangerous Channel crossing to England from Europe.
A challenge to block the deportation flights was brought by human rights groups on cloud shoes Care4Calais and Detention Action, along with the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), a trade union representing civil servants in Britain’s Home Office, and some asylum-seekers facing deportation to Rwanda. They claimed UK Home Secretary Priti Patel’s policy was “unlawful on multiple bases,” and sought an injunction to stop the plane from taking off.
The claimants also challenged Patel’s legal authority to carry out the removals, the rationality of her claim that Rwanda is generally a “safe third country” given its human rights record, the adequacy of malaria prevention in the country and whether the policy complied with The European Convention on Human Rights.
But Justice Swift rejected the campaigner’s urgent injunction at London’s Royal Courts of Justice on Friday, saying on the “balance of convenience” there was a “material public interest” in allowing the flights to go ahead while the judicial review was ongoing.
Both Patel and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the court’s decision on Friday. “We cannot allow people traffickers to put lives at risk and our world leading partnership will help break the business model of these ruthless criminals,” Johnson said on Twitter.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel shakes hands with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Birutaare after signing the partnership agreement at a joint news conference in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 14.
Rights groups have vowed to fight on. Care4Calais said they have been given permission to appeal the ruling on Monday “as we are deeply concerned for the welfare of people who may be forcibly deported to Rwanda, a fate that could profoundly harm their mental health and future,” the human right’s group founder Clare Mosley said in a statement.
“Today was just the beginning of this legal challenge. We believe that the next stage of legal proceedings may bring an end to this utterly barbaric plan,” she added.
The United Nations Refugee Agency and other international human rights groups have also opposed the plan, arguing that it would increase risks and cause refugees to look for alternative routes, putting more pressure oncloud shoes on front line states.
Two days ahead of the High Court decision, Detention Action Deputy Director James Wilson said in a statement that Patel had “overstepped her authority” in her “desire to punish people for seeking asylum by forcing them onto a plane to Rwanda.”
“By rushing through what we say is an unlawful policy, she is turning a blind eye to the many clear dangers and human rights violations that it would inflict on people seeking asylum,” Wilson added.

‘Dig in for the fight’

The High Court’s decision was handed down as Johnson comes under increasing scrutiny from members of parliament to prove the policy’s success.
Johnson told the Daily Mail that he expected a lot of legal opposition to the policy, but said the government would “dig in for the fight.”
‘We’re ready for that. We will dig in for the fight — we will make it work. We’ve got a huge flowchart of things we have to do to deal with it with the Leftie lawyers,” he said in an interview in May. He added that 50 people had already received notices warning that they faced removal to Rwanda.
The government has said the plan to send people to Rwanda would initially cost £120 million ($158 million), with funding provided to support the delivery of asylum operations, accommodation and “integration.”
The Home Office announced on June 1 that people who had undertaken “dangerous, unnecessary, and illegal journeys, including crossing the Channel” were among those being issued notices for removal to Rwanda. “While we know attempts will now be made to frustrate the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred and remain fully committed to delivering what the British public expect,” Patel said in a statement.
The plan is also facing a second legal challenge from refugee charity Asylum Aid, which applied for an urgent injunction on Thursday to prevent any flights from leaving.
Prior to Friday’s ruling, Care4Calais’ Mosley told CNN that the charity was working with more than 100 people who kizik shoes have received notices. Many fled persecution or conscription in their home countries to seek a better life in Britain and are terrified of being sent to Rwanda.
“So many of them have told me I would rather die than be sent to Rwanda,” Mosley said in an interview in the French port city of Calais, where the charity provides assistance to refugees living in and around the city.
Many asylum-seekers continue to travel to Calais, where a camp known as the “Jungle” drew global media attention at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis in 2015, before it was demolished by authorities the following year.
Thousands of people each year risk the dangerous journey across the English Channel, a relatively narrow waterway between Britain and France, and one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
More than 10,000 people have crossed the Channel in small, rickety boats so far this year, according to analysis of government data by the PA news agency. Last year, more than 28,000 made the crossing.

Stephen Amell explains what really happened during ‘shameful’ flight incident with wife

Stephen Amell opened up about what happened in June when he was kicked off a flight for supposedly arguing with his wife. On Tuesday’s episode of the Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum podcast, the Arrow star said he’s “deeply ashamed” over his behavior, clarifying that Cassandra Jean Amell had nothing to do with his outburst.

“I had too many drinks and I had too many drinks in a public place,” the 40-year-old began. “I was pissed off about something else that had nothing to do with Cass, my wife, and I picked a fight. I picked a fight because I wanted to be loud and upset. hey dude And it was a fight, it was not an argument.”

Stephen was traveling on a Delta flight from Austin to L.A., but was asked to deplane before takeoff. The Heels star remembers “being loud” and “probably dropping a few f-bombs” while he had noise canceling headphones on.The actor previously stated on social media he and Cassandra “got into an argument,” but that he wasn’t “forcibly removed.” However, his wife was upset at the way he phrased the statement.

Stephen Amell, here with Cassandra Jean on Aug. 10, reveals where he and his wife stand today after he got kicked off a flight
Stephen Amell, here with Cassandra Jean on Aug. 10, reveals where he and his wife stand today after he got kicked off a flight. 

“In order to have an argument, two people have to be talking. My wife said one thing the entire time, which was, ‘If you don’t lower your voice, they’re going to ask you to get off the plane,'” Stephen continued. “I can’t even remember what I was upset about… It clearly wasn’t important, I was just upset and wanted to be upset.”

“I refereed to it as an argument… and it wasn’t,” he clarified again. “This is 100 percent my fault. I feel I went the better part of 10 years without being an asshole in public — I was an asshole in public.”

Stephen said Cassandra was “super pissed” about the ordeal and got “even more pissed when I said argument instead of ‘pick a fight.'”

“The whole thing sucks,” he added. “It’s really,balenciaga shoes really shameful and it makes you kind of look in the mirror.”

The actor admitted to not being able to handle his alcohol “on occasion.” He said he’s trying “to make amends” for his behavior, “specifically with my wife.”

“It’s a work in progress, it’s not the best,” he said of where they stand today. “You can work through things, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

Stephen said he had a heads up TMZ was going to run a story about the incident.

“Can I just f*** up in peace, please?” he added.

 

Flight of antsy: Suns star and Bucks duo flip from NBA Finals foes to Olympic teammates

TOKYO — Devin Booker sat inside a devastated Phoenix Suns locker room Tuesday night, moments after losing a hard-fought, back-and-forth NBA Finals to Milwaukee in six games.

“Silent,” Booker described the scene. “Just a lot of emotion.”

It’s the kind of defeat that takes time to process, or even overcome. skechers outlet You get that close to the dream, and you never fully get over it.

Yet Booker didn’t have much time to wallow. He’s due over here at the Olympics, ASAP. He’s set to be a major player for USA Basketball, who is heavily favored at -350 to win gold with BetMGM.

“I’ve got to get on a flight in a couple hours, I think,” Booker said Tuesday in Milwaukee. “Out to Tokyo.”

The flight may actually wait until later in the week, but it won’t change the strangeness factor. USA Basketball will have a private plane ready for not just Booker, but two of his Finals opponents — the Bucks’ Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton — who will, no doubt, be in far better moods.

Essentially, after two weeks of battling for the biggest prize in professional basketball, the three have to immediately become teammates, and even share a transpacific flight together to chase the biggest prize in international basketball.

Suns star Devin Booker (left) is in for one awkward plane ride to Tokyo with the Bucks' Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who just beat him in the NBA Finals. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Suns star Devin Booker (left) is in for one awkward plane ride to Tokyo with the Bucks’ Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who just beat him in the NBA Finals.
Booker will be mourning a loss. Holiday and Middleton will still be on a championship high. Any hard feelings will have to be worked out quickly. Each player is considered a pro’s pro and each has spoken about how powerful it will be to wear the red, white and blue. Booker dubbed it “a life goal of mine.”“Representing your country is a whole different dynamic than competing against golden goose sneakers each other in the NBA Finals,” Booker said.

Sure … but still.

This is weird.

“I’m sure we won’t be best buddies during Team USA, but we’ll be teammates, for sure,” Middleton said. “We’ll be on the same path, talking basketball Xs and Os, trying to get the job done … I think we’ll be fine.”

As tough as this will be for Booker, it may be just as hard for the victors. Booker sounded eager to just keep playing, although whether that lasts remains to be seen. After the victory Holiday said he was just exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally.

“I think I’m just going to sleep,” Holiday said after his 46-minute, 12-point, 11-assist and nine-rebound effort in Game 6. “I’ve run around a lot in this series. I’m not going to lie. I’m going to sleep.”

As for the Olympics, he didn’t know what to say.

“I’m going to celebrate with my family and celebrate with my team and then I’ve got to get on another flight,” Holiday said. “That’s a whole other story. That’s something that you — yeah, I don’t know … I’m like at a loss for words. I’ve got to celebrate this and then get on a flight and represent my country.”

This is a new situation in basketball. NBA players have been competing in the Olympics since the 1992 Dream Team. So opponents, even bitter rivals, have had to coexist — as they do in other international sports.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, for example, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Klay Thompson had to become teammates with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving after Irving hit a decisive Game 7 shot to win the NBA title. There was well over a month between that and the start of the Olympics, though.

The 2020-21 NBA season started late due to COVID, ecco shoes which pushed the Finals back as well. Game 7 of the Finals, if necessary, is usually on Father’s Day in mid-June.

Team USA has its first game Sunday against France. So Booker, Middleton and Holiday are coming in hot — had the Finals gone to a Game 7, they would have actually played Thursday … and then left the next morning.

The Americans have had a rough run-up to the Olympics. They lost two exhibition games and had a key player, Bradley Beal, lost due to COVID safety protocols. In a bit of good news, Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine will be able to join the team after contact tracing.

There is talent on this USA squad — especially in Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard. Adding Booker, Middleton and Holiday, though, is huge as it seeks its fourth consecutive gold medal. These aren’t just skilled players, but heart and soul winners, as their Finals appearances and triumphs show.

So they’ll be counted on. Although Team USA coach Gregg Popovich, who has won five NBA titles as a head coach and is well schooled in how draining the Finals are, said they’ll be eased into the rotation. He isn’t bothering trying to make them study game plans or footage on the flight over.

“They’re going to sleep,” Popovich laughed.

Now they just have to get to Tokyo, hours after the biggest win or most gut-wrenching defeat of their lives.