UK signs deal with Kigali to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

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Rwanda has signed a controversial agreement with London to welcome immigrants and asylum seekers of various nationalities from the United Kingdom on its soil, Kigali announced Thursday during a visit by British Home Secretary Priti Patel.

the United Kingdom announced on Thursday, April 14, a controversial plan to send the Rwanda asylum seekers arrived illegally on its territory and entrusted the English Channel to the Royal Navy, hoping to deter the ever-increasing crossing of illegal immigrants.

While the Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised to control immigration, a key issue in the Brexit campaign, the number of illegal crossings, very dangerous, tripled in 2021 and continues to rise. London regularly criticizes Paris for not doing enough to prevent them.

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“As of today (…), anyone who enters the UK illegally, as well as those who have arrived illegally since 1it is January can now move to Rwanda,” the conservative leader announced during a speech at an airport in Kent (southeast England).

Rwanda will be able to host “tens of thousands of people in the coming years,” he added, saying the East African country is “one of the safest countries in the world, globally recognized for its record of welcoming and integrating migrants.” “.

This bill, therefore likely to apply to all illegal immigrants wherever they come from (Iran, Syria, Eritrea…), has provoked scandalized reactions from human rights organisations, who denounce their “inhumanity”. The opposition ruled that the Prime Minister was trying to divert attention after being fined for a birthday party in full confinement.

An agreement of 144 million euros

Eager to regain popularity before the local elections in May, Boris Johnson and his government have been seeking for months to close agreements with third countries to send migrants to while they wait to process their file.

Australia already applies that measure with remote islands in the Pacific, a highly criticized policy. On the other hand, Denmark had also considered sending its asylum seekers to African countries..

Under the deal announced Thursday, London will initially finance the device with 120 million pounds sterling (144 million euros). The Rwandan government specified that it would offer those received the possibility of “settle permanently in Rwanda” if “they want to do so.”

“Our compassion may be infinite, but our ability to help people is not,” said Boris Johnson. The UK Prime Minister added that “those who try to jump the queue or abuse our system will not have an automatic route to settle in our country, but will instead be sent back quickly and humanely to a safe third country or to their home country.” “. originally”.

Immigrants arriving in the United Kingdom will no longer be housed in hotels but in reception centers such as those in Greece, with a first center “opening soon”, Boris Johnson has announced.

Discourage candidates from leaving

As part of this plan, which complements a vast law on immigration currently in Parliament and already criticized by the UN, the Government entrusts this Thursday the control of illegal crossings of the English Channel to the Navy, equipped with additional equipment. On the other hand, he gave up his plan to push back ships entering British waters, a measure denounced by the French side.

With asylum seekers being sent more than 6,000 kilometers from the United Kingdom, the Government wants to discourage the departure of candidates for the United Kingdom, who are increasingly numerous: 28,500 people made these dangerous journeys in 2021, compared to 8,466 in 2020… and only 299 in 2018, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior.

Amnesty International has criticized a “shockingly ill-conceived idea” that “will cause suffering while wasting huge sums of public money”, also pointing to the African nation’s “dismal human rights record”.

For the general director of Refugee Action, Tim Naor Hilton, it is a “cowardly, barbaric and inhumane way of treating people fleeing persecution and war”.

Even within Conservative ranks, criticism has erupted, with MP Tobias Ellwood saying on the BBC that it is a “huge attempt to distract attention” from Boris Johnson’s “Partygate” blunders, these parties organized in circles of power during lockdowns.

with AFP

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