Deportations, Frozen Assets, and Better Communications – Newsletter May/June 2022

17 June 2022

Dear Friends,

1. Deportations from the UK to Rwanda

In the UK, our focus has been on the extraordinary saga of the flight to Rwanda that didn’t go – for now.

Britain’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, seemed determined to push ahead with the first deportation flight of asylum-seekers to Rwanda. British courts accepted her assurance that those sent on the first flight would be allowed to return to the UK if the full judicial review of her policy (scheduled for July) finds it to be unlawful. The number of people expected to travel steadily declined from 30 to seven, until, late in the evening of 14 June, a judge at the European Court of Human Rights blocked the flight.

It is hard to imagine the emotions of those young people as they were taken from the detention centres where they are accommodated to the airfield where the plane waited.

The case raises important questions that will, hopefully, be fully examined during the judicial review in July. These include:

  • The 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees requires a state party to disregard the method of travel, when considering an application for asylum. How can the UK government claim that its policy is consistent with its obligations under the Convention, when it so obviously is not, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has repeatedly stated that it is not?
  • If the Home Secretary is ready to accept the findings of the full judicial review in July, why does she not wait until then before putting vulnerable people through this horrible ordeal?

UAI in the UK Committee member, Jeff Crisp, a former senior official with UNHCR, tweets regularly on this topic. To see Jeff’s comments and join the conversation, click the link below.

2. Frozen Afghan Funds
Check out the page on UAI’s new website devoted to the campaign to release Afghanistan’s frozen reserve funds in US and European banks using the link below.

We are committed to continuing our advocacy on this issue.

We are in contact with like-minded groups including the “Unfreeze Afghanistan” campaign in the US and the NGO “Emergency” in Italy. We continue to raise the issue wherever possible in Afghan and international fora.   We post regular updates on our initiatives. Watch this space.

3. New Website

UAI is proud to announce the launch of our new website at the same address as the old one –

Explore the site and find insightful blogs by Antonio Donini, Norah Niland, Jeff Crisp, Eleftheria Kousta, and many others.

4. The Donate button

On the new site you will find a Donate button that allows you to contribute to our work.

UAI relies almost entirely on the huge amount of time that its volunteers devote to our efforts to improve the lives of the victims of conflict and those seeking asylum.

Volunteers give their time freely. But UAI cannot operate without basic administrative services, communications facilities, and reimbursement of other essential costs.

We recognise that, to become fully established, UAI will need a small core staff. We are engaging with foundations and other like-minded organisations to generate the required income. Their response will be shaped in part by the number, generosity, and enthusiasm of our subscribers.

So, please try out the Donate button and also encourage friends to sign up for our newsletters and support our work.

Thank You,
The UAI team

Photo: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and Minister Biruta sign the Migration and Economic Development Partnership between the UK and Rwanda – 14 April 2022 UK Home Office

Share this article