The United Kingdom approves a plan to expel migrants to Rwanda – DW – 04/23/2024

Controversial government bill British The expulsion of regular migrants to Rwanda was approved on Monday (22/04/2024) at around midnight in Parliament after a marathon battle between the two legislatures.

first Minister Rishi Sunak His conservative party was pushing for the adoption of this text, which would force judges to consider the East African country a safe country for expelled migrants.

It would also give the authorities responsible for deciding asylum applications the power to ignore sections of international and British humanitarian law and circumvent the Supreme Court decision that ruled that the project was illegal.

The plan, launched by Boris Johnson's previous government in May 2022, faced strong opposition in the House of Lords, an advisory body responsible for examining laws passed in the House of Commons.

Senators criticized the bill as insufficient and returned the text with amendments to the House several times.

Record number of asylum seekers

Sunak's government is under pressure to reduce the record number of asylum seekers crossing the English Channel in small boats from northern France.

Hours before the project cleared its final parliamentary hurdle, the Conservative leader announced that his plan would be implemented “no matter what.”

The House of Commons before reading the result of the vote. MPs voted 306 to 229 to reject an amendment to the bill ensuring Rwanda is considered a safe country for migrants expelled from the UK. Image: House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire/empics/picture Alliance

“They will take off no matter what,” said Sunak, who made combating illegal immigration one of his priorities ahead of this year’s British legislative elections.

He confirmed in a press conference aimed at presenting the means the government is using to organize these expulsions that flights to the African country will begin within “ten or twelve weeks.”

A project under severe criticism

The deportation plan to Rwanda has faced several legal challenges since it was introduced in 2022. That year, the first of the deportees were removed from the plane at the last minute after the European Court of Human Rights intervened. Since then, no migrants have been sent there.

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The project, which may still be the subject of new legal challenges, has been strongly criticized by the Labor opposition, migrant aid groups, the Anglican Church and the United Nations.

Its High Commissioner for Human Rights, Austrian Volker Türk, stated that the decision “contradicts the basic principles of human rights.”

UN experts have suggested that airlines and aviation regulators could be “complicit” in violating internationally protected human rights if they participate in migrant deportation flights.

More than 120,000 people have crossed the English Channel in makeshift boats since 2018, when the government began counting the number of illegal immigrants arriving this way.


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