UK may cut funding to UN after ECHR ruled against migrants deportation
The first flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda as part of a contentious UK policy was canceled, dealing an embarrassment to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel will consider cutting London's UN funding after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled to ground the first flight that was scheduled to fly migrants from the UK to Rwanda, according to The Times.
The UN refugee agency's analysis of the deportation policy was critical to the intervention of European judges, according to the media.
"We're looking into it. It's a lot of money to give an organization that spends so much time trying to undo our policies. They must have spent a fortune on lawyers for the role it has played in the courts over the last few days," a source said, as quoted by the newspaper.
The UK Foreign Ministry already announced plans to reduce the amount of funding allocated to the UN in May. The UK cut its allocations nearly in half, from $134.7 million in 2020 to $72.9 million, in 2021. According to UN data, this year's British contributions totaled $51.9 million, with $33 million earmarked for the resolution of Ukraine's humanitarian crisis.
The first flight carrying migrants was scheduled for Tuesday, following the rejection of a lawsuit filed by human rights activists seeking to halt the government's decision to send illegal migrants to Rwanda. According to the court's statement, the flight was canceled after the ECHR ruled that an Iraqi migrant involved might face "a real risk of irreversible harm."
For her part, Patel expressed her disappointment that the flight was unable to take off due to "legal challenges and last-minute claims." She noted that the ECHR did not rule that the decision to send migrants to Rwanda was illegal and that Rwanda is a safe country where refugees can receive assistance. At the same time, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss stated that if some migrants are unable to board the first flight, they will be accommodated on the next.
In mid-April, the United Kingdom and Rwanda signed a migration agreement under which people identified by the UK government as illegal migrants or asylum seekers will be deported to Rwanda for document processing, asylum, and relocation. Human rights organizations and some politicians have criticized the plan, claiming that it will not stop the illegal migration flow from France via the English Channel.
Last year, over 28,000 migrants from Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, and Syria crossed the English Channel to seek asylum in the UK.