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UN experts warn airlines could violate human rights laws flying asylum seekers to Rwanda


By Mark Channer LLB Political Journalist

April 23, 2024


Credits @FFHR.CZ



Airlines have been warned by United Nations experts if they get involved with the Prime Minister’s Rwanda scheme then they could be held accountable for violations of human rights legislation.


Rapporteurs on human trafficking, migrants’ human rights and torture, Alice Jill Edwards, Siobhan Mullally and Gehad Madi have warned that airlines could be held “complicit” for breaching regulations.


The UN experts said, “Even if the UK-Rwanda agreement and the Safety of Rwanda Bill are approved, airlines and aviation regulators could be complicit in violating internationally protected human rights and court orders by facilitating removals to Rwanda.”


On Monday evening MPs will vote on legislation for a plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.


However, the experts warned, “If airlines and aviation authorities give effect to state decisions that violate human rights, they must be held responsible for their conduct.


“As the UN guiding principles on business and human rights underline, aviation regulators, international organisations and business actors are required to respect human rights.”


James Wilson, director of campaign group Detention Action, said, “By forcing people onto planes to Rwanda, this Government is outsourcing its responsibility to protect people seeking asylum here.


“Airlines must not profit from the misery and human rights abuses caused by this plan.

“It will set a very dangerous precedent that businesses can ignore human rights and international law when it suits them, putting us all at risk.”


Plans have been drawn up to use RAF Voyager aircraft to fly the asylum seekers to Kigali, Rwanda.


The Prime Minister has said that there will be a “regular rhythm” of  “multiple flights a month” that will head for Rwanda.


Sunak has said that “flights are going to Rwanda” and airfields are on standby, he told reports that there will be “”no more prevarication, no more delay,” as “enough is enough.”


In “10 to 12 weeks” time the first deportation flights to Rwanda will commence and MPs are preparing to vote on the legislation.


The Prime Minister said government teams have been “working flat out” to delivers a “genuine game changer” to stop the boats.


Sunak insisted on Monday that there will be “no ifs, no buts, these flights are going to Rwanda,” to rid the UK of the asylum seekers.


The Prime Minister vowed that “Parliament will sit there tonight and vote no matter how late it goes.


He said the Rwanda plan will see asylum seekers who arrive in the UK after crossing the English Channel and other irregular means will be flown to Kigali instead as an “indispensable deterrent.”


Sunak promised that there will be a “regular rhythm” of “multiple flights a month through the summer and beyond.”




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