Prince Charles has criticised the UK government’s policy to deport migrants to Rwanda as “appalling” while the high court rejected a legal challenge against the plan.
The Prince of Wales is reported to be “particularly frustrated at Boris Johnson’s asylum policy” which was given the green light by the high court who ruled on Friday that the first flight to Rwanda can go ahead on Tuesday (June 14).
Clarence House is not denying the Prince of Wales made the comments in private that have been reported by the Times and the Daily Mail.
A source, quoted by the newspapers, said Prince Charles expressed that “he was more than disappointed at the policy” to send people 4,000 miles from the UK to the central African country to be processed.
The source added that Prince Charles “said he thinks the government’s whole approach is appalling. It was clear he was not impressed with the government’s direction of travel.”
When asked about the prince’s remarks, a spokesperson for Clarence House said: “We would not comment on supposed anonymous private conversations with the Prince of Wales, except to restate that he remains politically neutral. Matters of policy are decisions for government.”
Legal challenge against Rwanda policy fails
A legal challenge against the highly controversial policy to deport migrants to Rwanda was rejected by the high court on Friday. An appeal against the ruling has been launched and another legal challenge to Tuesday’s flight will be heard on Monday. Removal letters have been sent to 130 asylum seekers notifying them of their fate.
Home secretary Priti Patel announced the contentious deal with Rwanda in April. Since the start of 2022, more than 10,000 people have arrived in the UK by small boats from France. The policy – which aims to deter people making the crossing – has been criticised by human rights campaigners and international organisations.
The United Nations refugee agency has called the policy a breach of the UK’s commitments under the 1951 UN refugee convention. Amnesty International said people in Rwanda are subject to “violations of the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression and privacy”, alongside “enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force”.
The Independent reports that Patel is proceeding without the “promised watchdog intended to oversee the process” and protect the rights of people facing deportation being in place.
Boris Johnson’s government committed to establishing a monitoring committee earlier this year to oversee the “removals”. However, the Home Office has conceded the monitoring committee will not be set-up for months.
Migrants’ Rights Network CEO, Fizza Qureshi said: “The Rwanda plan is abhorrent, and we believe it will be rightly struck down by the courts.”
Qureshi added: “But what makes this plan even more appalling is that there is no appropriate monitoring in place to ensure that human rights are not further violated.”
Mary Atkinson, campaigns officer at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said: “This government likely knows their plan to deport people seeking safety here 4,000 miles away is inhumane, racist and potentially unlawful, so it’s understandable that they would want to avoid scrutiny on it.”
Prince Charles to represent Queen in Rwanda
Prince Charles will be in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, on June 20 – just six days after the first flight taking deportees from the UK.
The prince will be representing the Queen at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting (CHOGM). The gathering has been postponed since 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic and on Thursday (June 9), Prince Charles hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace “in celebration of the Commonwealth Diaspora of the UK” ahead of the Kigali summit.
It will be Prince Charles’ first visit to Rwanda and the sixth time he has attended CHOGM.