Asylum seekers in the UK will be flown 4,500 miles to Rwanda as part of the government’s crackdown on illegal migrants announced by Boris Johnson.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce a series of measures including putting the navy in charge of Channel operations from Friday and a new reception center to hold people trying to enter the UK to assist. help end asylum seekers staying in hotels.
Priti Patel, the interior secretary, arrived in the central African country on Wednesday after concluding a “partnership for economic development and migration”.
The initiative comes as Johnson is set to reveal more plans on Thursday to disrupt the business model of people-smuggling gangs and boost UK operations in the Channel.
Referring to the UK referendum vote to leave the EU, he would say: “We cannot maintain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be limitless, but our ability to help others is not.
“The British people have voted many times to control our borders. Not to close them, but to control them”.
The deal with Rwanda, which was supposed to cost £120m initially, after three years Patel promised to outsource asylum application processing to third countries and failed to live up to the agreements with him. Albania and Ghana.
It is understood that the deal – described by Labor as “unworkable and unethical” – will mean asylum seekers in the UK will face the possibility of being sent to a camp in the UK. Rwanda.
The migrants are expected to have their asylum applications processed in the East African country and be encouraged to settle there. The Times said the move would only apply to male migrants.
A statement from No 10 said: “The Home Secretary will present more details on the world’s first migration and economic development partnership signed by the Secretary of State, Priti Patel, with Rwanda, one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, has been globally recognized for its record of welcoming and integrating migrants. ”
According to a 2020 Human Rights Watch report, people detained in the country are subjected to arbitrary detention, ill treatment and torture in both formal and informal settings.
The government has yet to explain whether any camps where asylum seekers are interned will be under UK jurisdiction or how the UK government will seek to monitor the welfare of migrants. .
Yvette Cooper, the shadow house secretary, said the Rwandan proposal was a “shameful announcement intended to distract from Boris Johnson’s recent criminal behavior. “It is an unworkable, unethical and disproportionate policy that could cost UK people billions of pounds during a cost-of-living crisis and will make decision-making difficult,” she said. Fast and fair asylum determination will not be easier.”
The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, said it was waiting to see a bilateral deal, but expressed concern about plans to send asylum seekers abroad.
“UNHCR does not advocate outside of the obligations of countries applying for asylum. This includes measures taken by States to transfer asylum seekers and refugees to other countries, where there are insufficient safeguards to protect their rights or where this leads to change instead of sharing responsibility for refugee protection,” a spokesperson commented.
Responding to the government’s crackdown, Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said the government wanted to criminalize those who took the wrong path to safety by going to the UK. .
“The government is choosing control and punishment over compassion even though government data shows two-thirds of men, women and children come from countries where war and repression have force them to leave their homes.
“We urge this government to immediately rethink plans that are in stark contrast to what every Conservative prime minister since Churchill has sought to do by providing a hearing,” he said. justice on British soil for asylum seekers.
The first intake center, which will be modeled after the practice in Greece, will be a former RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire. Councils will also be given extra funding to disperse impoverished migrants.
The government has so far failed to pass the legislation necessary to put so-called diplomacy on the regulatory books. The Nationality and Borders bill, which would allow asylum seekers to be processed abroad, has yet to receive royal assent.
Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, who proposed the amendment to the bill, said: “Asylum seekers who come to our shores are our international responsibility and should be dealt with on our land. us with the human dignity they enjoy. .
“There are many questions about the parameters of any outsourcing proposal that remain unanswered, including financial costs, but mostly revolve around the question of dignity.”
Denmark previously reached an agreement with the Rwandan government to accept recent migrants. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries last summer – but it remains unclear whether the Danish government has so far sent anyone to Rwanda.
Ministers led by Patel have cited Australian-style offshore processing hubs – which will bring migrants to the UK within seven days of arriving in the UK – as a key potential containment measure to contain a record increase in volume through the Channel.
Last month, she recruited former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer to review the country’s border force, weeks after he urged the UK to take a hard line on migrants by boat.
Last year, Australian government figures showed the country spent £461m processing 239 refugees and asylum seekers detained overseas.
More than 4,600 people have come to the UK via small boat trips since the start of the year, according to figures collected by the PA news agency.
On Wednesday, women and young children were among the passengers of several convoys carrying people crossing the Channel.
People wearing life jackets and blankets were seen arriving in Dover on Border Force vessels as well as at Dungeness on RNLI lifeboats.