A legal action has forced the first flight due to take asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda to be cancelled minutes before take-off on Tuesday evening.
The flight was stopped after a late intervention from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) led to fresh challenges in the UK courts.
The first flight was expected to fly out up to seven people to the east African country.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “disappointed” but added that “Preparation for the next flight begins now.”
James Wilson from campaign group Detention Action reacted to the intervention from the ECtHR as a signal that “shows how potentially dangerous” the Rwanda removals are.
He said the court had recognised no one should be forced on to a plane until the policy was fully scrutinised in a High Court hearing next month.
Rwanda‘s decision to receive some asylum seekers from the United Kingdom has been criticized by many and described as a breach of international law.
Per the scheme agreed on between the UK and Rwanda, single men arriving in the UK illegally in small boats or lorries will be sent to Rwanda for resettlement.
Such people who arrived in the UK by 1 January may be sent to Rwanda, where their asylum claims will be processed.
Details of the scheme explained that such deportees will be given accommodation and support and would be free to come and go from their lodgings at all times, while their claims are being considered.
Once the claims of these asylum seekers are accepted they would be helped to build a “new life” in Rwanda, with up to five years’ access to education and support there, the UK government said in a statement.
Those whose claims will be rejected will be given the chance to apply to remain in Rwanda or be removed to their country of origin or another country where they have the right to reside.
More than 160 charities and campaign groups want the UK government to scrap the plan, while opposition parties and some Conservatives have also criticised the policy.
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has said he believes the scheme complies with international law.