UK defends Rwanda’s asylum plan as ‘compassionate’
KIGALI – Britain’s home secretary, during a visit to the country on Saturday, defended a controversial plan to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK illegally to Rwanda, saying he was “compassionate”.
The UK’s Conservative government has made tackling illegal immigration a priority and this was a key pledge when the country left the European Union.
It is trying to ban asylum applications from all illegal arrivals and transfer them to “safe” third countries like Rwanda to prevent thousands of migrants from crossing the Channel on small boats.
“I firmly believe this world-leading partnership between two allies and two friends, the UK and Rwanda, will lead the way to finding a solution that is both humanitarian and compassionate,” said Home Secretary Suella Braverman in Kigali.
She spoke to Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, who said the move would “not only help dismantle criminal people-smuggling networks, but also save lives.”
More than 45,000 migrants arrived on small boats on the coasts of south-east England last year – an annual increase of 60 per cent on a dangerous route that has been used by more people every year since 2018.
– “Safe passage, not Rwanda” –
The government, which is behind in opinion polls, has been trying to tackle the transitions for years.
She had hoped that the threat of a one-way ticket to Rwanda, where migrants would stay if granted asylum, would prevent crossing the Channel.
But that plan, announced last year by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was blocked at the last minute by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which is separate from the EU.
It was then upheld by the High Court in London but was mired in appeals. Flights to Rwanda have not yet taken place.
Rights groups have accused Rwanda – which has been ruled with an iron fist by President Paul Kagame since the end of the 1994 genocide that killed around 800,000 people – of cracking down on freedom of expression and opposition.
In Britain, thousands of people took to the streets of cities including London, Glasgow and Cardiff on Saturday to demonstrate against the plan.
Anti-racism protesters in the British capital carried signs reading ‘No human is illegal’ and ‘Safe passage, not Rwanda’.
Some British media, including the BBC and The Guardian newspaper, were not invited to cover the Home Secretary’s visit to Rwanda.
Source: Crypto News Deutsch