British Home Secretary Suella Braverman defended from Kigali on Saturday March 18, 2023 the highly controversial plan to deport migrants who have arrived illegally in the United Kingdom to Rwanda and assured that it “humanitarian” et “compassionate”.
The British Conservatives have made the fight against illegal immigration, one of the promises of the ‘Brexit’, one of their priorities.
But never before have so many migrants crossed the Channel in small boats to reach the UK. More than 45,000 arrived on English shores in 2022, compared to 28,526 in 2021 and already 3,150 in 2023.
In hopes of discouraging crossings, the British government signed an agreement with Kigali nearly a year ago that provided for deportations to Rwanda, which has been denounced by many human rights groups.
This agreement has been updated and extended to all migrants who have arrived in the UK illegally and who cannot be returned to their country of origin, according to a statement from the UK Home Office released 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 Braverman, together with Vincent Biruta, the Rwandan foreign minister, told the press.
The far-right Home Office boss, who visited a construction site for a site intended to host migrants from the UK, stressed that there was a “global migration crisis”.
This project “Will not only help dismantle criminal networks of human trafficking, but also save lives”assured Vincent Biruta for his part.
Flight canceled last June
The UK Home Office said Rwanda has assured it is ready to host “thousands” of people under the London-Kigali agreement.
In December, the High Court in London gave the green light to this highly controversial project that Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government wants to deploy as soon as possible, the unit ruled “legal”. But the British judiciary accepted in January to review the government project on appeal.
A first flight scheduled for June was canceled following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) calling for a major overhaul 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, has been regularly accused by NGOs of suppressing freedom of expression, criticism and political opposition.
On Saturday, several thousand people demonstrated in several UK cities, such as London, Glasgow and Cardiff, against the Conservatives’ desire to tighten laws against illegal immigration, particularly on the application of asylum law. Some carried the “Safe Passage, Not Rwanda” sign.
Various British media, including the Guardian and the BBC, were not invited to report on the visit of the interior minister to Rwanda, the newspaper reported on the left. On the spot, the information was delivered to the journalists in dribs and drabs.