The British government was thwarted in its attempt to send a handful of asylum seekers on a charter plane to Rwanda after ECHR stepped in to issue injunctions, cancelling the flight.

Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel makes a statement on Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda in London, Britain, June 15, 2022.
Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel makes a statement on Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda in London, Britain, June 15, 2022. (Reuters)

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has called the European Convention on Human Rights' (ECHR) decision to ground UK's first deportation flight to Rwanda "scandalous," The Telegraph reported.

"The opaque way this court has operated is scandalous," Priti Patel said in an interview with the newspaper published on Saturday, after the government was thwarted in its attempt to send a handful of asylum seekers on a charter plane to Rwanda on Tuesday after ECHR stepped in to issue injunctions, cancelling the flight.

British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said on Thursday that Britain has no plans to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, but added that the Strasbourg court, which enforces it, overstepped its powers in blocking the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

"They've (ECHR) not used this ruling previously, which does make you question the motivation and the lack of transparency," the newspaper quoted Patel as saying.

The European court's late intervention had led some in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party to call for Britain to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights altogether.

READ MORE: UK cancels first flight to deport refugees to Rwanda

Johnson defends plan

Earlier British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had emphatically defended the plan. 

"We are going to get on and deliver" the plan, Johnson declared, arguing that the move is a legitimate way to protect lives and thwart the criminal gangs that smuggle migrants across the English Channel in small boats.

The prime minister announced an agreement with Rwanda in April in which people who entered Britain illegally would be deported to the East African country. 

In exchange for accepting them, Rwanda would receive millions of dollars in development aid. The deportees would be allowed to apply for asylum in Rwanda, not Britain.

Opponents have argued that it is illegal and inhumane to send people thousands of kilometres away to a country they don't want to live in. 

Britain in recent years has seen an illegal influx of refugees from such places as Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Iraq and Yemen.

Activists have denounced the deportation policy as an attack on the rights of refugees that most countries have recognised since the end of World War II.

Politicians in Denmark and Austria are considering similar proposals. Australia has operated an asylum-processing center in the Pacific island nation of Nauru since 2012.

READ MORE: UN 'firmly opposed' to UK sending asylum seekers to Rwanda

Source: Reuters