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Kigali announced, Thursday, during the visit of British Home Secretary Priti Patel, that Rwanda has signed a controversial agreement with London to welcome immigrants and asylum seekers of various nationalities from the United Kingdom to its territory.
On Thursday, April 14, the United Kingdom announced a controversial project to send asylum seekers to Rwanda who had arrived illegally in its territory and entrusted the monitoring of the canal to the Royal Navy, hoping to deter the non-stop crossing of illegal immigrants. to high.
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to control immigration, a central theme of the Brexit campaign, the number of very dangerous illegal crossings tripled in 2021 and continues to increase. London regularly criticizes Paris for not doing enough to stop it.
>> To read also: “Calais traumatized by the deadliest drowning of migrants known to the Channel.”
“As of today (…), anyone entering the UK illegally as well as those who have arrived illegally since 1Verse January can now be transferred to Rwanda,” the conservative leader announced during a speech at one of the airports in Kent (southeast of England).
He added that Rwanda will be able to accommodate “tens of thousands of people in the coming years,” noting that the East African country is “one of the safest countries in the world, globally. Recognized for its record of welcoming and integrating immigrants.”
This bill, which is likely to apply to all illegal immigrants wherever they come from (Iran, Syria, Eritrea…), sparked scandalous reactions from human rights organizations, which denounce “inhumanity”. The opposition ruled that the prime minister was trying to divert attention after being fined for a birthday party in full confinement.
Agreement worth 144 million euros
Seeking to regain his popularity ahead of local elections in May, Boris Johnson and his government have for months been seeking agreements with third countries to send migrants while they wait for their file to be processed.
Such a measure has already been implemented by Australia with remote islands in the Pacific Ocean, a policy that has been much criticized. In addition, Denmark has also considered sending asylum seekers to African countries.
Under the deal announced Thursday, London will initially fund the device up to 120 million pounds (144 million euros). The Rwandan government specified that it would offer its recipients “permanent settlement in Rwanda” if they “wanted to do so”.
“Our compassion may be unlimited, but our ability to help people is not,” said Boris Johnson. The UK Prime Minister added that “those who attempt to bypass the waiting list or abuse our system will not have an automatic route to settling in our country but will be returned in a swift and humane manner to a safe third party state or their country of origin.”
Boris Johnson has announced that migrants arriving in the UK will not be accommodated in hotels but in reception centers such as those in Greece, with the first center opening “soon”.
Dissuade candidates from leaving
As part of this plan, which complements the broad immigration law currently before parliament and already criticized by the United Nations, the government on Thursday entrusted control of the illegal crossings of the canal to the navy, with additional equipment. On the other hand, he abandoned his plan to push the boats into British waters, a measure denounced by the French side.
By sending asylum seekers more than 6000 kilometers from the UK, the government wants to discourage candidates leaving for the UK, and whose number is growing: 28,500 people made these perilous crossings in 2021, compared to 8,466 in 2020 … and only 299 in the year 2018, according to the Ministry of Interior figures.
Amnesty International has criticized a “grossly poorly conceived idea” that “will cause suffering while wasting huge sums of public money”, citing the African nation’s “poor human rights record”.
For Refugees Director General Tim Naor Hilton, this is “a cowardly, barbaric and inhumane way of dealing with people fleeing persecution and war”.
Even within the Conservative ranks, criticism has been simmering, with MP Tobias Ellwood saying on the BBC it was a “huge attempt to distract” from Boris Johnson’s setbacks at Partigate, the parties organized into circles of power during the Tribals.