Saturday, November 4, 2023

Braverman to Discuss Migration Deal in Rwanda


A number of asylum seekers, aid groups and a border officials’ union have taken legal action to prevent the UK government from implementing a deportation agreement with Rwanda. UK Interior Minister Suella Braverman is due to visit Rwanda this weekend to discuss the deal, which would see the UK relocate undocumented refugees and migrants. The agreement was first announced in April 2020, but has been subject to legal challenges and controversy. Under the terms of the deal, the UK would send tens of thousands of people over 4,000 miles to Rwanda as part of a £120m ($146m) agreement. However, no flights have yet taken off due to opposition to the policy in the courts.

The deal with Rwanda is a key element of the UK government’s plans to detain and deport asylum seekers who arrive in small boats across the English Channel. Braverman is set to meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame during her visit and has suggested that the policy could be put into effect soon. “I am visiting Rwanda this weekend to reinforce the government’s commitment to the partnership as part of our plan to stop the boats and discuss plans to operationalise our agreement shortly,” she said.

Opponents of the policy argue that it is unethical and unworkable, and that it criminalises the efforts of genuine refugees. Asylum seekers would be required to present their claims in Rwanda, with those not granted asylum there able to apply to stay on other grounds or seek resettlement in another country. Rights groups have also warned that Rwanda is not a safe destination, citing ongoing human rights abuses including repression of free speech, arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture.

Braverman has defended her approach, describing her opponents as “naive do-gooders”. The government has argued that the policy is necessary to prevent dangerous crossings of the Channel from France, and that it will undermine the business model of people-smuggling networks. Last year saw a record 45,000 people arrive in Britain on small boats. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has stated that finding a solution to the issue is one of his top priorities.

Latest stories