Britain has no plans to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, but the Strasbourg court that enforces it has exceeded its powers by blocking the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said on Thursday.
The government was thwarted Tuesday in its attempt to send a handful of migrants to Rwanda on a charter plane more than 4,000 miles (6,4,000 kilometers) after the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) intervened to issue injunctions. and cancel the flight. †
Raab, who is also Britain’s justice minister, criticized the Strasbourg court for essentially blocking the flight, part of a policy London says will stop the flow of migrants making dangerous journeys across the English Channel from France.
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Raab said the flights would take place despite criticism from the United Nations, the Church of England leadership and Prince Charles, the heir apparent, who has personally described the plan as “appalling”, according to media reports.
“Our plans are to stay within the Convention, the European Convention. It is also important that the Strasbourg court reflects its mandate as part of the convention and remains faithful,” he told the BBC.
“The Strasbourg court itself has been saying for years that there is no binding power of prohibition. And later they said, “Well, actually we can issue such binding orders.” It’s not based on the Convention,” Raab told Sky News.
The late intervention of the European court had led some in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party to call on Britain to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights altogether.
Challenged about social media death threats to human rights lawyers, Raab said they were unacceptable, but Britain’s Human Rights Act had spawned an “industry” of lawyers promoting “elastic interpretations” of the law on behalf of their clients.
He added that the government could not give a firm date for when it could send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
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