So Much for Brexit: European Court Blocks UK From Deporting Illegal Migrants to Rwanda

A European court intervened in the late hours of Tuesday evening to prevent a deportation flight to Rwanda from the UK, sparking calls for Brexit Britain to finally leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.

The deportation flight, which had already been bogged down to near irrelevancy by domestic legal challenges resulting in just a handful of illegal boat migrants prepped for removal to Rwanda, was cancelled outright by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after an 11th-hour appeal by an Iraqi migrant.

According to a report from The Telegraph, an alleged asylum seeker from Iraq, dubbed ‘KN’, launched an appeal at the ECHR after losing an appeal at the UK Supreme Court.

The European judges found that the Iraqi should not be deported until a judicial review of the policy has been conducted and that there was no legal mechanism for him to be returned to Britain should the migrant face poor treatment in Rwanda as the country is outside the jurisdiction of the ECHR.

Despite the UK officially leaving the European Union in 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government did not remove the country from the jurisdiction of the ECHR as it is technically not part of the EU. The ECHR is actually a body of the Council of Europe, a distinct organisation, although in practice membership of the Council is de facto mandatory for EU members.

Leading Brexit figures, including Nigel Farage, had long warned that the scheme to deport illegal migrants to the East African nation of Rwanda would be hampered by the UK’s membership in the European Court.

Commenting on the ECHR blocking the deportation flight, Mr Farage said on Wednesday morning: “Left-wing lawyers now dictate our immigration policy. Time to leave the ECHR and finally complete Brexit.

Mr Farage said that the fight to leave the European Court will be “Brexit 2.0” as Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn’t “do Brexit properly”.

“We don’t need lessons from people in Strasbourg about justice and liberty, I think over the centuries we’ve done it rather better,” Farage said of the ECHR, which he claimed that despite its supposed independence is, in reality, a functionary of the EU and full of “political activists”.

While Europhiles are quick to pounce when the bodies are confused or conflated, both the EU and the ECHR’s Council of Europe have the same flag, the same anthem, and inhabit headquarters buildings in the same complex of structures over Strasbourg’s rivers. Once, both bodies even shared the same parliament chamber.

The former leader of the Conservative Party, Sir Iain Duncan Smith characterised the ECHR decision as a “legal farce” and seconded calls for Britain to leave the legal body.

“If we have our own Bill of Rights then we shouldn’t have to refer constantly back to the court in Strasbourg because we should rely on our courts to be able to uphold human rights and the rule of law which they were doing the other day,” Sir Iain said.

The intervention by the court may in fact serve as a boon to Johnson’s government, which can now lay the blame for its persistent failures to deport illegals at the doorstep of Europe despite the fact that the flight would have only removed a handful of illegals — a vanishingly small amount compared to the over 440 more boat migrants were brought ashore on Tuesday alone.

Indeed, the Conservative government has shown itself inept at deporting illegal migrants regardless of ECHR intervention, with merely 0.6 per cent of migrants (75 people) being sent back to European Union countries last year when over 28,000 arrived illegally by boat.

This has come in large part due to the unwillingness of European countries such as France and the inability of the UK to secure post-Brexit deals on the return of failed asylum seekers to the bloc. Failing to come to such an arrangement, Priti Patel’s Home Office turned to Africa, Rwanda in particular, to house illegals while their asylum claims are processed in the hopes of deterring more migrants from crossing the English Channel.

Commenting on the ECHR’s intervention, Patel said that “preparation for the next flight begins now” and that the government will not be “deterred from doing the right thing”.

The Home Secretary went on to say that she was “very surprised” by the intervention of the European court, despite being warned of such an outcome for months.

For his part, Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson said that activist lawyers were “very good at picking up ways of trying to stop the Government from upholding what we think is a sensible law”.

Hinting at possibly supporting calls to withdraw from the ECHR, Johnson added: “Will it be necessary to change some laws to help us as we go along? It may very well be and all these options are under constant review.”

The failure of the government to remove the illegal migrants will likely come as music to the ears of leftist activists, celebrities, charities, and politicians, who had come out in force of the idea of deporting illegals to Rwanda, despite the European Union previously doing the same.

Over the weekend, it had emerged that even Prince Charles, heir to the British crown, had reportedly described the plan as “appalling“. This came after the likes of ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, actress Emma Thompson, and even the Church of England had all condemned the plan.

Celebrating the blocked flight, the leftist Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan wrote on social media that “sending people fleeing violence to a country thousands of miles away was already cruel and callous. It’s now potentially unlawful too.”

Former far-left Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also chipped in, saying that it was a “very welcome decision from the ECHR and a devastating blow to the government’s inhumane plans to deport refugees to Rwanda. Thanks to the many brilliant campaigners who have fought tirelessly for the rights of refugees.”

Meanwhile, another 444 illegals landed on British shores on Tuesday, taking the total for the year to nearly 11,000, more than double the rate at which crossings of the English Channel occurred last year. The government has been warned that between 65,000 and 100,000 illegals could reach the UK this year.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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