UK announces deal to send illegal migrants to Rwanda, says it is made possible by Brexit – Reuters News in France and abroad

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The British government announced on Thursday that it would send migrants who enter illegally through its borders to Rwanda, in a bid to stop illegal immigration which has immediately drawn criticism from left-wing politicians and activist groups.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the deal with the East African country, saying it would allow anyone entering illegally, as well as any illegal immigrants who have arrived since January 1, to be transported to the Rwanda.


Johnson said in a speech that the move was made possible by Britain’s departure from the European Union, which gave Britain greater control over its immigration policies.

“This innovative approach, driven by our common humanitarian impulse and made possible by Brexit freedoms, will provide safe and legal pathways to asylum while disrupting the gang business model, as it means economic migrants taking advantage of the asylum will not have access to stay in the UK,” Johnson said. “While those who really need it will be properly protected, including with access to legal services, upon arrival in Rwanda and have the opportunity to build a new life in this dynamic country supported by the funding we provide. »

A group of people believed to be migrants are brought to Dover, Kent, on board a Border Force vessel following a small boating incident in the English Channel, Wednesday April 13, 2022. Britain’s Conservative Government struck a deal with Rwanda to send asylum seekers thousands of miles away to the East African country, a move that opposition politicians and refugee groups have condemned as being inhumane, impractical and a waste of public money. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)

Successive British governments have fought against illegal immigration across the English Channel from France. Migrants will squeeze into the back of trucks or other vehicles crossing the canal between Calais and Dover – or on small boats across the canal itself, often organized by criminal gangs.

Johnson said seven out of 10 migrants who arrived on small boas were men under the age of 40. Johnson said most passed through “obviously safe countries, including in Europe” where they could and should have sought asylum.

More than 28,000 entered the UK on boats in 2021, compared to 8,500 in 2020. This has raised concerns about exploitation by gangs, in the same way cartels have exploited the crisis along the US-Mexico border, and the danger to migrants.


Johnson, in his speech, focused on the costs of illegal immigration to the British taxpayer, saying the UK is generous to immigrants but “we cannot maintain a parallel illegal system”.

“Our compassion may be infinite, but our ability is not,” Johnson said, saying it was unfair to ask British taxpayers to write a “blank cheque” for anyone who wants to live in the UK. United.

The policy was immediately criticized by human rights groups, who denied Johnson’s claim that Rwanda is a safe country. It drew criticism from the left-leaning Labor Party, with leader Keir Starmer calling the plan ‘unworkable’ and ‘exorbitant’ and accused Johnson of seeking to deflect controversy over his party attendance during the COVID shutdowns. -19.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said it had made its objections known to both countries.

“UNHCR remains strongly opposed to agreements to transfer refugees and asylum seekers to third countries in the absence of sufficient safeguards and standards. Such agreements merely shift asylum responsibilities, circumvent international obligations and are contrary to the letter and spirit of the Refugee Convention. “, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, said in a statement.


The Rwandan government said the five-year deal would see Britain pay around $157 million for housing and other services to migrants.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said the agreement “aims to ensure that people are protected, respected and empowered to pursue their own ambitions and settle permanently in Rwanda if they wish”.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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UK announces deal to send illegal migrants to Rwanda, says it is made possible by Brexit – Reuters News in France and abroad