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 migrants and asylum seekers of different nationalities from the United Kingdom to its territory, Kigali announced on Thursday during a visit by British Home Secretary Priti Patel.

the UK announced a controversial plan on Thursday, April 14 to Rwanda asylum seekers arrived illegally in their territory and entrusted the surveillance of the English Channel to the Royal Navy, hoping to deter the crossings of illegal immigrants, which are constantly increasing.

While the Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to control immigration, an important topic of the Brexit campaign, the number of illegal crossings, very dangerous, tripled in 2021 and continues to increase† London regularly criticizes Paris for not doing enough to prevent them.

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“As of today (…), anyone entering the UK illegally, as well as those who have arrived illegally since 1er January can now be moved to Rwanda,” the conservative leader said during a speech at an airport in South East England Kent.

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 track record of welcoming and integrating migrants.” “.

This project, which is therefore likely to apply to all illegal immigrants, wherever they come from (Iran, Syria, Eritrea…), has provoked outrage from human rights organizations, denouncing its “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 for 144 million euros

Boris Johnson and his administration, eager to regain his popularity ahead of local elections in May, have been trying for months to negotiate deals with third countries where they can send migrants while waiting for their files to be processed.

Such a measure is already being implemented by Australia’s remote islands in the Pacific, a much-criticized policy. Otherwise, Denmark had also considered sending its asylum seekers to African countries

Under the agreement announced on Thursday, London will initially finance the device up to 120 million pounds sterling (144 million euros). The Rwandan government has indicated that it would offer recipients the opportunity “to settle permanently in Rwanda” if they “want to”.

“Our compassion may be infinite, but our ability to help people is not,” said Boris Johnson. The British Prime Minister added that “those who attempt to skip the queue or abuse our system will not have an automatic route to settle in our country, but will be returned in a prompt, humane manner to a land-safe third party or their country.” by origin”.

Migrants arriving in the UK will no longer be accommodated in hotels, but in shelters like the one in Greece, with a first center “opening soon,” Boris Johnson announced.

Discouraging candidates from leaving

As part of this plan, which complements a comprehensive immigration law currently in parliament and already criticized by the UN, the government on Thursday entrusted the navy, equipped with additional equipment, with control of illegal crossings of the Channel. On the other hand, he gave up on his plan to cut back the boats entering British waters, a move that was frowned upon on the French side.

By sending asylum seekers more than 6,000 kilometers from the UK, the government aims to discourage the departure of candidates to the UK, which is increasing in number: 28,500 people made this dangerous crossing in 2021, up from 8,466 in 2020… and only 299 in 2018, according to figures from the Ministry of the Interior.

Amnesty International has rejected an “outrageously ill-considered idea” that “will cause suffering while wasting huge sums of public money”, also pointing to the African nation’s “bad record of human rights”.

Refugee Action Director General Tim Naor Hilton called it a “cowardly, barbaric and inhumane way of treating people fleeing persecution and war”.

Criticisms have flared even within the Conservative ranks, with MP Tobias Ellwood saying on the BBC it is a “massive attempt to divert attention” from Boris Johnson’s misadventures in “Partygate”, these parties organized in circles of power. during the detentions.

With AFP

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