LONDON ( Associated Press) – The British government has struck a deal with Rwanda to send some asylum seekers to the African country, a move that opposition politicians and refugee groups have described as impractical and inhumane.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is due to announce details on Thursday in Rwanda, which the UK government is calling an “economic development partnership”.
Media reports said the government’s plan would see some single men who arrive in Britain in small boats from the English Channel fly over 4,000 miles (6,400 km) to Rwanda, while their asylum claims are processed. She goes.
Simon Hart, Minister for the Government of Wales, said the arrangement would cost Britain around £120 million ($158 million). He said the goal was to “break” the business model of criminal people-trafficking gangs.
“(If) we have arrangements with the Rwandan government for fair and humane treatment of these people, criminal gangs will realize that their potential source of income will dry up,” Hart said.
Amnesty International UK’s refugee director Steve Valdez-Symonds said the government’s “shockingly wrong idea would go a long way in causing suffering while wasting enormous amounts of public money.” He said Rwanda’s “dismal” human rights record made the idea worse.
The chief executive of the UK-based organization Refugee Council, Enver Solomon, called it a “brutal and bad decision” and predicted it would not stop people smuggling gangs.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to deliver a speech on Thursday about stopping smugglers behind Channel crossings.
According to his office, Johnson would say that “smugglers of despicable people[who]are abusing the vulnerable and turning the Channel into a graveyard filled with water, drowning men, women and children in seaworthy boats and refrigerated Action is needed to prevent suffocation in lorries.”
Migrants have long used northern France as a launching point to reach Britain, either by going away on trucks or ferries, or – since the coronavirus pandemic closed other routes in 2020 – usually In dinghies and other small boats held by smugglers.
More than 28,000 people entered the UK on small boats last year, up from 8,500 in 2020 and just 300 in 2018. Dozens of people, including 27 people, were killed when a boat capsized in November.
The British and French governments have worked to prevent cross-Channel travel for many years, with no success, often swapping charges about who is to blame for the failure. Last year, Britain agreed to give France 54 million pounds ($74 million) to help double the number of police patrolling French beaches.
Britain’s Conservative government has issued proposals, including building a wave machine across the Channel to repatriate boats and send migrants to third countries. Many suggested locations – including Ascension Island, Albania and Gibraltar – were rejected, sometimes angrily suggested by nations.
Opposition politicians accused the government of trying to divert attention from a scam on government parties violating pandemic lockdown rules. Johnson was among dozens of people who were fined parties by police, making him the first British leader to break the law while in office.
He is opposing the call for resignation of opponents and some people of his own party.
Labor legislator Lucy Powell said the Rwanda plan may please some conservative supporters “and will certainly make headlines because it is so controversial and controversial. But in reality, it is impractical, costly and unethical.”
“I think it’s less about dealing with smaller boats and more about dealing with the prime minister’s own sinking boat,” Powell told the BBC.