In mid-June, the first flight to deport migrants and asylum seekers staying illegally in the UK to Rwanda was cancelled few hours before taking off.
After the judgment from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), passengers were removed from the plane which had to take off on Tuesday 14th June 2022 at 11:30 p.m. of Kigali Time.
The human rights court said that it had suspended the deportation of one migrant from Iraq who was onboard the plane.
It also maintained that UK must wait for the final judgment before further action.
On Friday 2nd September 2022, Priti Patel held a phone conversation with Minister Biruta which revolved around the commitment to implement the policy.
“Always a pleasure to speak to my counterpart in Rwanda Vincent Biruta. On a call, we discussed our countries’ steadfast commitment to the Migration and Economic Development Partnership. Rwanda and UK stand together in promoting a fairer, more effective global asylum system and we won’t be deterred,” Patel tweeted.
Their discussions took place few days before courts reassess the deportation of migrants and asylum seekers from UK to Rwanda.
The High Court in UK will hear objections against the plan next week. However, the country asserts that the policy will discourage migrants from seeking refuge in UK.
Through the deal signed this year, the UK will provide an upfront investment of £120 million to fund invaluable opportunities for Rwandans and migrants including secondary qualifications, vocational and skills training, language lessons and higher education.
These asylum seekers from African countries and others outside the continent will be treated decently like Rwandans upon arrival. It is expected that those willing to return to their mother lands will be helped to do so.
Following the last minute cancellation of the first flight ; the Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Yolande Makolo said that Rwanda remains committed to welcome the migrants when they arrive.
“We are not deterred by these developments. Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work. 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,” she said.
At the time, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said that she was "disappointed" but added that preparation for the next flight continues.
“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 said. “We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans to control our nation’s borders. Our legal teams are reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparations for the next flight begins now,” added Patel.