UK cancels first deportation flight to Rwanda

The British government has canceled its first flight to deport a group of asylum seekers to the East African nation of Rwanda.

The flight was canceled Tuesday night after the European Court of Human Rights issued injunctions to block the deportation for one of the men. The plane was just about to leave.

The court said the transfer should be suspended for three weeks because legal proceedings in Britain are continuing.

In April, the British government signed a deal with Rwanda that would allow it to relocate asylum seekers to the East African country. Britain agreed to offer 120 million pounds, or about 148 million dollars' worth of support to Rwanda.

An increasing number of illegal migrants are crossing the Strait of Dover by boat. The British government says the deportation was aimed at stopping the illegal migration business.

Support groups and others are opposed to the policy saying it is cruel and inhumane. On Monday, hundreds of people rallied in London to protest the deportation.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel said the intervention of the European court was "very surprising" and expressed disappointment that the plane was unable to depart.

She said the government has started preparations for the next flight.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told NHK that the office disagrees with Britain's decision to move asylum seekers to another country.

Grandi also said they are against asking Rwanda "to carry out the process to determine whether these people are refugees or not."

He said the British government has a responsibility to continue discussions on the matter with neighboring countries from where the people originated.