The project provoked scandalized reactions from human rights organizations that denounced its “inhumanity”. Under a deal struck Thursday by London and Kigali, the UK now wants to send migrants of all backgrounds to Rwanda who have arrived on British soil illegally.
“From today […]Anyone who enters the UK illegally, as well as those who have arrived illegally since January 1, will now be able to be transferred to Rwanda,” the British Prime Minister announced in a speech at Lydd Airport in Kent. ). .
Rwanda will be able to host “tens of thousands of people in the coming years”, added Boris Johnson, presenting this East African country as one of the “safest in the world”. Boris Johnson has been searching for third countries for months to send asylum seekers there. Ghana, presented as the first channel, flatly denied in January that it was in negotiations with the United Kingdom on the subject. But the agreement with Rwanda was confirmed this time by the authorities there.
“Rwanda welcomes this partnership with the UK to welcome asylum seekers and migrants and offer them legal avenues to live,” Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said in a statement. The Government of Rwanda has clarified that it will offer the possibility “to settle permanently in Rwanda [à ces personnes si elles] desire”.
The UK plans to initially finance the system to the tune of 120 million pounds sterling (€144 million).
But the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday expressed “strong opposition” to the project.
“People fleeing war, conflict and persecution deserve compassion and empathy. They should not be traded like commodities and flown abroad for treatment,” said Gillian Triggs, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for international protection.
The navy will track migrants in the English Channel
Boris Johnson announced, at the same time, other measures against illegal immigration.
Helicopters, planes, drones… London is deploying the National Navy to the English Channel, where it will now be tasked with tracking migrants instead of the coast guard.
“From today, the Royal Navy will assume operational command in the English Channel. […]with the aim that no ship reaches the UK undetected,” said Boris Johnson.
“This will send a clear message to those who drive the ships: if you risk the lives of others in the Canal, you risk spending your own life in prison,” he said, releasing an envelope of 50 million books (60 million euros ), in human and material resources.
Centers dedicated to illegal immigrants
Centers dedicated to illegal immigrants, created on the Greek model, will also replace the current hotel accommodation.
Boris Johnson, on the other hand, has given up on his reported plan to repel ships entering British waters.
Caught in the “partygate” of the name of Downing-Street celebrations during lockdown, unable to deliver on its Brexit campaign promises on immigration control, with the number of illegal immigrants crossing the Channel even tripling in 2021 , the Conservative leader is now seeking a second wind in public opinion ahead of next month’s local elections.
On April 9, Boris Johnson made a publicized appearance alongside Volodymyr Zelensky in kyiv as a show of solidarity with Ukraine, whose population, wounded by the Russian invasion, is fleeing the country. It only took him five days to send a completely different signal to people of all backgrounds on the road to exile.