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UK set to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda on June 14

The British Home Office continues its brutal policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. Two months after announcing its Migration and Economic Development Partnership Agreement with the East African state – under which people arriving illegally in the UK are to be sent back 7,200km away to that their asylum application is “processed” – the first flight is due to leave on June 14.

Under the agreement, anyone deemed to have arrived “irregularly” in the UK since January 1, 2022 can be relocated to Rwanda. Once in Rwanda, if an asylum claim is found to be legitimate, the person will only be allowed to stay in Rwanda, not the UK. Otherwise, she will be deported to a third country.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Vincent Biruta sign the Migration and Economic Development Partnership (Credit: Priti Patel/Twitter)

On June 1, a statement from the Ministry of Interior said it had begun to “issue official letters of instruction of removal to those expected to travel to Rwanda.” Among “those relocated there” are “people who have made dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys, including crossing the English Channel…”

Under Home Secretary Priti Patel’s new plan for immigration, tens of thousands of people are expected to be airlifted to Rwanda and possibly other states.

The thefts will take place despite being branded illegal by human rights groups.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is due to release its latest report two days after the UK-Rwanda flight departed on the number of people who suffered forced displacement around the world [article en anglais]. He estimates that the total number of asylum seekers worldwide already stands at 100 million. UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said the Nationality and Borders Act under which the Johnson government crafted its Rwandan policy “undermines the ability of those at risk to seek refuge in the UK and weakens protection refugees around the world.

None of this disturbs the government. The Home Office statement cited Patel’s threat that, “while knowing that attempts will now be made to thwart the process and delay removals, I will not be deterred from doing so…” The Guardian noted that the first flight to Rwanda is expected to coincide with a trip a week later by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Kigali for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Patel’s comments followed deliberately inflammatory comments from Johnson, who told the DailyMail that he was ready to “carry this fight […] We have a huge diagram of tasks to do to achieve this, with leftist lawyers”.

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