Saturday, November 27

Priti Patel Faces Three Legal Challenges Over Refugee Roll-Back Plans | Immigration and asylum

Priti Patel faces three legal challenges over its controversial plans to push back refugees in small boats in the English Channel trying to reach the UK.

Several charities, including Care4Calais and Channel Rescue, are involved in two linked challenges that argue that Patel’s plans are illegal under human rights and maritime laws. Freedom from Torture is involved in a third challenge.

The Guardian has revealed that attorneys for the government have warned Patel that he is likely to lose any legal challenge to his denial policy.

The first legal challenge, from Care4Calais and another charity, focuses on whether the Home Office has actually formulated a policy on returns. It maintains that if such a policy exists, it should be published for scrutiny.

The second challenge, from Channel Rescue, a human rights organization that monitors the situation of refugees crossing the Canal in small boats, focuses on alleged violations of maritime law: the requirement of the UN convention on the law of the sea. is for ships to provide assistance to those in distress or distress at sea.

The third maintains that the return policy has no legal basis, authorizes illegal conduct by UK officials and is prohibited by the refugee convention.

Government sources informed some media outlets in September that a Border Force team had been training for months in preparation for the start of the operation. Days later, Channel Rescue volunteers witnessed Border Force officers on jet skis practicing turning boats off the Kingsdown shoreline in Kent.

Jeremy Bloom, an attorney for Duncan Lewis representing charities in the first challenge, said: “The Home Office has reported extensively to the press and parliament to say that they have a policy that allows them to compel ships that carry Asylum seekers to leave the UK Territorial Waters The claimants in this challenge are of the opinion that any policy is likely to violate the UK’s obligations under international and national law, and that any attempt to push back ships may put in real danger to the lives of asylum seekers and refugees. “

Clare Moseley, Founder of Care4Calais, said: “Rejections prioritize politics over people’s lives. Refugees are innocent people who were simply unlucky enough to be born in the wrong place. They are asking for our help. It is inhumane to punish them for this ”.

Channel Rescue’s Kim Bryan said his volunteers witnessed a practice by Border Force officers using jet skis to circle a boat from both sides and push it from behind. “We believe this is life-threatening and illegal,” Bryan said. “We have given the Ministry of the Interior until November 29 to respond to our prior action protocol letter. If we do not receive a response by then, we will issue a judicial review procedure. “

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said: “To protect lives and break the business model of the criminal gangs that facilitate these crossings, it is right that we continue to evaluate and test a variety of safe and legal options to find ways to stop small vessels that they make this dangerous and unnecessary. trip.”

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