In an article in Sunday's Nord Littoral Phil Boyle, British Consul General in Lille, seems to have let the cat out of the bag about secret negotiations between the UK and French governments about resurrecting the idea of joint deportation flights to Afghanistan.
Last November saw similar attempts to carry out a joint deportation flight founder and nearly end in a major diplomatic rift between the 2 governments, following a legal appeal to the European Court of Human Rights by French Afghan detainees. [see: November posts] The situation has not changed - collective expulsions remain contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights and most of Afghanistan itself is still declared as being "unsafe" by the UN High Commission for Refugees.
Yet this hasn't stopped the UK and French governments from seeking ways of circumventing the legal safeguards via an exchange of 'experts' in such things. And so sure is Phil Boyle that these secret talks will in fact bear fruit, he has gone public, boasting that, "Very soon I think that our governments could jointly set up flights of forced returns." Clearly his Foreign and Commonwealth Service security training has let him down!