Decision to stop Rwanda flight nothing to do with EU

15 June 2022
What was claimed

The first asylum seeker flight from the UK to Rwanda was stopped by an EU court.

Our verdict

This is not true. A European Court of Human Rights ruling stopped the flight. It is a totally separate institution from the EU.

On Tuesday evening the first flight due to take asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda was cancelled minutes before it was due to take off, due to an intervention from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)

GB News and ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme have said the flight was stopped by an “EU court injunction” or “EU court ruling” in on-screen text, implying that the ECHR is linked to the European Union—which the UK left in 2020.

This is incorrect. The ECHR is not an EU institution. 

The ECHR is a separate institution to the EU

The ECHR is part of the Council of Europe, a human rights organisation of which the UK is still a member, alongside 45 other states. All 27 member states of the EU are in the Council of Europe, and its headquarters are in Strasbourg, France. 

We have written about the distinction between the EU and the ECHR in the past

The EU has its own court system, the Court of Justice of the European Union. It is based in Luxembourg, and interprets EU law to ensure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries. 

An ITV spokesperson said that Good Morning Britain had explained on multiple occasions during the programme that the ECHR is separate from the EU. 

They added: “One of today's show guests, Jessica Simor QC also specifically explained the differences to viewers and earlier on-screen captions were correct. 

“Unfortunately, one of the on-screen captions was incorrect, but the correct description was used and explained to viewers several times elsewhere in the programme

Full Fact also contacted GB News for comment but did not receive a response. 

Image courtesy of Adrian Grycuk - This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Poland license.

Update 16 June 2022

This article has been updated to include a comment from ITV.

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