The British government on Thursday announced a deal with Rwanda that will see the African country accept migrants from various countries detained after arriving in the UK for tens of millions of pounds. The plan, announced at a time when more and more refugees are heading to the British coast, will help to fight against the smugglers, according to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Opposition and refugee rights organizations condemn the mechanism as flawed and cruel, given the history of human rights violations in the small African country.
According to the BBC news site, London intends to give “one-way tickets” to Rwanda for some asylum seekers arriving in the English Channel. “Rwanda would take responsibility for them, guide them through the asylum process, and at the end of the process, if successful, they would be granted a long stay in Rwanda,” the BBC said.
According to British media, Britain initially wants to send mostly men who lose to British territory to an African country more than 6,000 kilometers away. According to the deal announced during today’s visit by British Home Secretary Priti Patel to Kigali London, he has pledged Rwanda 120 million pounds (over 3.5 billion CZK) in the first phase. It was not clear how many migrants an African country would accept for that amount. Prime Minister Johnson said on Thursday that Rwanda would be able to accommodate tens of thousands of people in the coming years.
London presents the issue as a “partnership for migration and economic development”. At the same time, he talks about trying to disrupt the activities of criminal organizations that help migrants get to Britain. Last year, at least 28,500 of them arrived on small boats, more than three times more than in 2020. This year, more than 4,500 refugees have completed the dangerous journey across the English Channel, and the annual total could set a new record.
However, issues remain about the effectiveness of the newly announced plan despite doubts about its legality and the treatment of migrants in Rwanda. In response, Steve Valdez-Symonds of the UK branch of the human rights organization Amnesty International called the government’s intention “scandalously ill-conceived”. According to him, the suffering of migrants will only increase and at the same time “a huge amount of public money will be wasted”. The “catastrophic” human rights situation in Rwanda only makes matters worse, he said.
The BBC noted in the analysis that Britain itself last year to the UN demanded an investigation into possible murder, torture or kidnapping by the Rwandan authorities. “Ministers will have to explain why Rwanda is the right place to protect the human rights of vulnerable asylum seekers who were hoping for UK protection,” writes journalist Mark Easton.
ITV reported a similar immigration policy was envisaged by Denmark in the past, while Australia sends asylum seekers on Christmas Island, where migrants are awaiting a decision from the authorities. According to ITV, the UK government internal analysis questions the success of such programs and suggests mixed evidence of effectiveness. The document also indicates that the introduction of such a system would lead to the risk of prosecution, however, with existing laws, it is possible to apply it.
‘It is an impractical, unethical and exorbitant policy which would cost British taxpayers billions of pounds’ and which would complicate, not simplify, the path to fast and fair asylum decisions,’ the secretary said. Yvette Cooper at Work Labor Party. other opposition parties or the charity Refugee Council also opposed the agreement with Rwanda.
According to Cooper, the government is trying to divert attention from the “breaches of law” presented by Prime Minister Johnson. The London police fined him Tuesday for pandemic restrictions, like his wife Carrie and Finance Minister Rishi sunak. At the same time, Britain was criticized for its treatment of Ukrainian war refugees, which it refuses to waive the visa requirement.