Britain planned to send asylum seekers to Rwanda who had entered its territory illegally.
The UK is facing massive opposition to its controversial plan, unveiled on Thursday April 14, to send asylum-seekers who have arrived illegally on British soil to Rwanda in hopes of preventing the rise of illegal crossings across the English Channel .
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While Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised to control immigration, a key issue in the Brexit campaign, illegal Channel crossings tripled in 2021, a year marked by the deaths of 27 migrants in a shipwreck in late November. London regularly accuses Paris of not doing enough to prevent them. “From today (…) all people who have entered the UK illegally, as well as those who have entered the UK illegally since January 1st, can be relocated to Rwanda‘ announced the Conservative leader in a speech in Kent (south-east England).
“A scandalously poorly thought out idea”
Rwanda will be able to accommodateTens of thousands of people in the coming yearshe added, calling the East African country one of thesafest in the world, recognized worldwide for its reception and integration of migrants“. This project, which is likely to apply to all foreigners who have entered the country illegally, regardless of where they come from (Iran, Syria, Eritrea, etc.), has provoked outraged reactions and the “strong resistance“the ONU.”People fleeing war, conflict and persecution deserve compassion and empathy. They should not be traded like commodities and taken abroad for processing.Gillian Triggs, UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner for International Protection, said in a statement.
Criticism by Amnesty International”a scandalously ill thought out ideaand underlined “dismal human rights recordfrom Rwanda. Daniel Sohege, director of the human rights organization Stand For All, denounced an initiative to AFP.inhumane, impractical and very expensiveto recommend the opening of entry routes into the United Kingdom instead.safer“, because the existing ones are “very limited“. For Human Rights Watch’s Nadia Hardman, the device will “complicate“the process for”Syrian refugees are desperate for a safe place“.”They will arrive expecting to be treated according to the core values that Britain says it stands for, but instead they will be reassigned“Thousands of kilometers away, she denounced.
An “absolutely ridiculous” idea
The Labor opposition has accused Boris Johnson of diverting attention after he was fined in full jail for celebrating a birthday. By sending asylum seekers more than 6,000km from London, the government wants to discourage the growing number of candidates from crossing to the UK: 28,500 people made the dangerous crossing in 2021, up from 8,466 in 2020, according to the Home Office. Opinions differ in Dover: “They must be returned as this is not our responsibilityAndy, 68, a British Army veteran, told AFP. Mike Allan, a 73-year-old retiree, came up with the idea “absolutely ridiculous” and “much more expensive in the long run“.
Eager to regain popularity ahead of next month’s local elections, Boris Johnson and his government have been scrambling for months to negotiate deals with third countries on where to send migrants while they await processing. Such a measure is already being used by Australia with outlying islands in the Pacific, a much-criticized policy. Under the agreement announced on Thursday, London will initially fund the device with £120m (€144m). The Rwandan government indicated that it would propose the possibility”settle permanently in Rwanda if they so wish“.
“Our compassion may be infinite, but our ability to help people is not.‘ said Boris Johnson, who expects legal action against the device. As part of that plan, which complements a broader immigration bill currently in parliament, the government on Thursday handed the extra-equipped navy the task of controlling illegal crossings across the English Channel. On the other hand, he gave up his plan to push back the boats entering British waters, which was frowned upon, especially on the French side.
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