'It's a real shame' - Leeds Refugee Forum director condemns UK government's Rwanda asylum plan

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The government's plan to send asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda has been condemned as a 'shame' by Ali Mahgoub, the director of Leeds Refugee Forum.

The first deportation flight was stopped at the eleventh hour following an intervention from the European Court of Human Rights.

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However, the government remain committed to the plan and home secretary Priti Patel has insisted they will not be 'deterred from doing the right thing'.

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Home secretary Priti Patel has defended the plan. Credit: Leon Neal / Getty ImagesHome secretary Priti Patel has defended the plan. Credit: Leon Neal / Getty Images
Home secretary Priti Patel has defended the plan. Credit: Leon Neal / Getty Images

Mr Mahgoub said: "I think that it's a real shame. It's a shame that it's happening because it's related to the dignity of the human being.

"People come into the country looking for support and protection.

"If you come to the practical side of things, people who stay in the UK for more than two years, they find a life, claim asylum. How do you want to define in one month and two months if they are genuine refugees? That is not realistic."

Leeds Refugee Forum is a refugee-led organisation which was founded in 2003. It supports refugees with initiatives such as youth clubs and English language classes, whilst also providing support and training to refugee organisations.

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Following the stopping of the first deportation flight, there have even been calls made by Conservative MPs for a withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.

The UK was the first to ratify the convention back in March 1951 and the 1998 Human Rights Act enshrined it into British law.

However, the government has vowed to replace the Human Rights Act with a brand new bill of rights.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today, justice secretary Dominic Raab said: "We are going to stay within the convention but make sure the procedural framework is reformed."

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On Monday, it was ruled that the flights could go ahead in the UK Court of Appeal despite challenges from campaigners.

However, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights granted an urgent interim measure regarding an Iraqi national. This prevented his deportation and also provided grounds for the remaining six people due for deportation to appeal for the scrapping of their removal orders.

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