Patel Reportedly Mulls Cutting Funding to UN After ECHR Ruling Against Deporting Migrants to Rwanda
© AP Photo / Justin Tallis/Pool Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel walks through the Central Lobby at the Palace of Westminster, during the State Opening of Parliament, in the Houses of Parliament, in London, Tuesday, May 10, 2022
© AP Photo / Justin Tallis/Pool
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UK Home Secretary Priti Patel will review the possibility of cutting London's funding to the UN after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled to ground the first flight that was set to fly illegal migrants from the UK to Rwanda, The Times reported on Thursday, citing government sources.
According to the media, an analysis of the deporting policy by the UN refugee agency has been crucial to the European judges' intervention.
"We're looking into it. It's a lot of money to give an organisation 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.
In May, the UK foreign ministry already announced its plans to reduce the amount of funding allocated to the UN. The UK almost halved the allocations from $134.7 million in 2020 to $72.9 million in 2021. This year's British contributions accounted for $51.9 million, with $33 million intended for settlement of humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, according to the UN data.
The first flight with illegal migrants aboard was scheduled for Tuesday after London's high court rejected a lawsuit by human rights activists demanding a ban on the government's decision to send illegal migrants to Rwanda. But the flight was canceled after ECHR ruled that an Iraqi migrant involved might face "a real risk of irreversible harm," according to the court's statement.
Patel, in turn, expressed deep disappointment that "legal challenge and last-minute claims" prevented the flight from taking off. The ECHR did not declare that the decision to send migrants to Rwanda was illegal, she noted, adding that Rwanda is a safe country where refugees can receive help. At the same time, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that if some migrants do not get on the first flight, they will be on the next one.
The UK and Rwanda signed a migration agreement in mid-April, stipulating that people recognized by the UK government as illegal migrants or asylum seekers will be deported to Rwanda for processing of documents, obtaining asylum and relocation. The plan has drawn criticism from both human rights organizations and some politicians who believe the measure will not halt the illegal migration flow from France via the English Channel.
Over 28,000 migrants from Iran, Iraq, Eritrea and Syria crossed the English Channel to the UK last year in search of asylum.