On Saturday, March 18th, 2023, the British Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, publicly defended the new project of expelling all irregular migrants who had arrived in the United Kingdom to Rwanda. Braverman claimed that the partnership between the two countries is “humanitarian” and “compassionate.” The Conservative government of the United Kingdom sees the fight against irregular immigration a priority and signed a deal with Rwanda more than a year ago to expel illegal migrants to the African country.
The goal of this agreement is to prevent thousands of migrants from crossing the English Channel in hazardous boats by transferring them to “safe” third countries. The plan is to integrate a ban on all asylum claims from illegal immigrants and to send them to countries where they will receive care such as Rwanda. Braverman made a speech in Kigali in front of Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, where she praised that the project will save lives and help dismantle criminal trafficking networks.
However, the initiative has been denounced by numerous human rights organizations, which claim that it is unethical and inhumane. Last year, over 45,000 people arrived in the UK in precarious ways via the channel route. The Rwandan government, however, reiterated that it was prepared to accept “thousands” of people under the agreement, according to a statement from the British ministry.
The High Court of London ruled that the British government’s controversial plan was legal in December. Still, the court agreed in January to consider an appeal process. In June, the European Court of Human Rights stopped a flight due to these policies, and thousands of people protested various UK cities on Saturday against the expulsion of migrants from the UK. Despite this resistance, the government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed its commitment to resuming the policies, causing more controversy and conflict.