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The United Kingdom and Rwanda have announced one of the most controversial immigration policy plans of the 21st century. As BBC reported, the UK government will send illegal immigrants to Rwanda to seek asylum in this African country, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Thursday. Rwanda is located 4,350 miles away from London and is situated in the east-central African region.
According to Johson, this partnership between those two countries will make life difficult for criminal organizations that practice human trafficking. In 2021, UK Prime Minister expressed deep concern about “continued restrictions on civil and political rights and freedom of the press” in Rwanda. On the occasion, London urged the East-Central African country to follow the models of the Commonwealth in terms of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights.
“The deal we made with Rwanda is limitless. Rwanda will have the ability to resettle tens of thousands of people in the next few years. We must ensure that the only route to asylum in the UK is safe and legal,” the prime minister said in a speech in Kent, southeast England, where thousands of migrants in small boats disembark after crossing the English Channel. “Let’s be clear: Rwanda is one of the safest countries in the world, recognized worldwide for welcoming and integrating migrants,” he added.
Johnson revealed that the measure has a retroactive effect, which means that anyone who has arrived illegally in the UK since January 1 can now be relocated to Rwanda.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel traveled last week to Kigali, the Rwandan capital, where she signed the agreement with Vincent Biruta, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, BBC said. Under the terms of the document signed, Rwanda will receive 120 million pounds “to welcome asylum seekers and migrants and give them a legal path to residency”.
The partnership signed today with the #UK builds on our record of hosting those fleeing conflict. It will ensure that migrants are protected and offered opportunities to live and work in #Rwanda, alongside Rwandans, if they choose to settle here. pic.twitter.com/GjVmXN7wwf
— Vincent Biruta (@Vbiruta) April 14, 2022
For Biruta, this partnership with the UK reinforces the role of Rwanda’s tradition of hosting people fleeing conflict. “This will ensure that migrants are protected and given opportunities to live and work in Rwanda alongside Rwandans if they choose to settle here,” he wrote on Twitter.
The agreement of sending illegal immigrants to Rwanda establishes that the British Royal Navy will take charge of the operation. Illegal Immigrants will be placed in hostels and hotels in Rwanda while they await the legal process of applying for asylum. The operation is predicted to have investments of 50 million pounds to cover the costs of labor force, and equipment such as helicopters, planes and drones.
The controversial immigration policy was condemned by many human rights groups and other members of the UK society. As Reuters reported, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, also a spiritual leader of the world Anglican Communion, said, in a speech made this Sunday, that the measure faces “serious ethical issues” and it does not stand “the judgment of God”.
“The details are for politics and politicians. The principle must stand the judgment of God and it cannot,” Welby said during his Easter Sunday sermon at Canterbury Cathedral.
“It cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures,” he continued.