UK expands Rwanda deportation deal — RT Africa
The scope of the policy was revised during a visit by the British Home Secretary to the Central African nation
The UK has expanded a controversial deportation deal with Rwanda to include all migrants who enter UK soil illegally after crossing ‘safe’ third countries, following a visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Interior Suella Braverman in Kigali on Saturday.
Braverman claimed the policy was “fair and balanced” after the signing of the updated agreement for the Rwandan Partnership for Migration and Economic Development with the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Biruta.
“I sincerely believe that this world-leading partnership between two allies and two friends, the UK and Rwanda, will pave the way for a solution that is both humanitarian and compassionate,” Braverman said.
If the UK courts rule on the legal proposals, the revised agreement will cover “all categories of people who pass through safe countries and make illegal and dangerous journeys to the UK”, and not just asylum seekers.
Under the agreement, people who arrive in the UK illegally could be taken to Rwanda to have their asylum claims considered. If they receive refuge, then they will stay in Africa rather than return to the UK. According to Sky News, citing an unnamed government source, the update would be “closing all the loopholes” for those arriving illegally, including those claiming to be victims of modern slavery.
Braverman’s predecessor, Priti Patel, said last April that the UK asylum system was “collapse under a combination of real humanitarian crises.” Patel signed a bill to deport the migrants to Rwanda, which is more than 6,400 km away.
The central African country received more than £120 million ($146 million) in development funds from its former colonizer in exchange for accepting asylum seekers.
However, the proposal has been blocked by legal hurdles and no migrants have so far been relocated.
Britain was forced to cancel its first deportation flight at the last minute in June 2022, after the European Court of Human Rights ruled the plan carried “a real risk of irreversible harm”.
According to figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UK had more than 230,000 refugees and 127,000 pending asylum claims in November 2022.
In the financial year ending in September 2022, more than 23,000 people who crossed the English Channel entered immigration detention. At the end of September 2022, there were 2,000 people in immigration detention, including those held in prison under immigration powers. That was nearly three times the number at the end of June 2020, according to Home Office data.
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