London on Saturday defended the highly controversial plan to deport migrants who arrived illegally in the United Kingdom to Rwanda, saying it was a “humanitarian” and “compassionate” plan.
British Interior Minister Suella Braverman on Saturday justified from Rwanda the highly controversial plan to deport migrants who arrived illegally in the United Kingdom to this country, while British Conservatives have made the fight against the illegal immigration, one of the Brexit promises, one of their priorities.
But never before have so many migrants crossed the Channel on small boats to reach the United Kingdom. More than 45,000 arrived on English shores in 2022, compared to 28,526 in 2021, and already 3,150 in 2023.
Denounced by many organizations
Hoping to discourage crossings, the British government concluded an agreement with Kigali nearly a year ago providing for deportations to Rwanda, denounced by many human rights organizations.
This agreement has been updated and extended to cover all migrants who have arrived in the UK illegally and who cannot be returned to their countries of origin, according to a statement from the UK Home Office published on Saturday evening.
“I sincerely believe that this world-leading partnership between two allies and two friends, the UK and Rwanda, will pave the way for a solution that is both humanitarian and compassionate,” Suella told reporters. Braverman, alongside Vincent Biruta, Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The very right-wing boss of the “Home Office”, who visited a construction site for a site intended to receive migrants from the United Kingdom, stressed that there was a “global migration crisis”.
“Thousands of people
This project “will not only contribute to dismantling criminal networks of human trafficking, but also to saving lives”, assured the Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The UK Home Office said Rwanda had reassured it was ready to take in “thousands” of people under the London-Kigali deal.
In December, the High Court in London gave the green light to this highly controversial project that the conservative government of Rishi Sunak wants to deploy as soon as possible, judging the device “legal”. But the British justice accepted in January to examine the government project on appeal.
Repression in Rwanda
A first flight scheduled for June had been canceled, after a decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which called for a thorough review of this policy.
Rwanda, ruled with an iron fist by Paul Kagame since the end of the 1994 genocide, which killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus according to the UN, is regularly accused by NGOs of repressing the freedom of expression, criticism and political opposition.
On Saturday, several thousand people demonstrated in several cities in the United Kingdom, such as London, Glasgow and Cardiff, against the desire of the Conservatives to toughen the legislation against illegal immigration, in particular on the application of the right of asylum. Some carried the placard “Safe passage, not Rwanda”.
Several British media, including the Guardian and the BBC, were not invited to cover the interior minister’s visit to Rwanda, according to the left-wing newspaper. On the spot, the information was delivered to the journalists in dribs and drabs.