BRITAIN | Boris Johnson shifts his Migrant/Refugee problems to Rwanda under partnership with Paul Kagami

BRITAIN | Boris Johnson shifts his Migrant/Refugee problems to Rwanda under partnership with Paul Kagami

MONTEGO BAY,  Jamaica, April 14, 2022 - As the problem of re-settlement of the world's refugees continue to challenge many nations of the world, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has decided to shift his solution to Africa, where he has made a partnership  agreement with Rwanda's president Paul Kagami, to move  thousands of unauthorised migrants seeking sanctuary in the UK  to the east African country of Rwanda  for a small fee.

Anyone who has arrived in Britain illegally since  the first of January 2022 could now be relocated to Rwanda, in East Africa, which is expected to disrupt the business model of people-smuggling gangs, the British prime minister said.

Johnson said the risk of ending up in Rwanda rather than the UK will be a "considerable deterrent" over time, as he set out the government's new partnership with president Paul Kagami of Rwanda to address illegal immigration. Britain plans to fly asylum seekers 4,000 miles away to Rwanda to be processed as a possible solution to the problem of cross-Channel migration.

"The deal we have done is uncapped and Rwanda will have the capacity to resettle tens of thousands of people in the years ahead," he said.

Johnson said Rwanda was "one of the safest countries in the world", adding however that the risk of ending up in the country would prove a "considerable deterrent" over time.

It remains unclear whether only men will be sent to Rwanda; whether there will be a right of appeal; and whether cases will be initially processed in the UK, with only those deemed to be “economic migrants” removed from the country.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Rwandan President Paul Kagame has just signed a partnership agreement for moving  thousands of persons seeking asylum in Britain to RwandaBritish Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Rwandan President Paul Kagame has just signed a partnership agreement for moving thousands of persons seeking asylum in Britain to RwandaHowever, a  minister in Johnson's government said the plan was focused on single young men. "This is about male economic migrants in the main," Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart told Sky News. "There is a different set of issues with women and children."

Human Rights Watch said Rwanda did not respect some of the most fundamental human rights.

"Refugees have been abused in Rwanda and the government has, at times, kidnapped Rwandan refugees outside the country to bring them home to face trial and ill-treatment," said Lewis Mudge, HRW's Central Africa director.

Patel signed the partnership agreement in Kigali on Thursday following which she presented it at a joint news conference with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta.

Biruta said Rwanda's recent history had given it "a deep connection to the plight of those seeking safety and opportunity in a new land". Rwanda has already accepted almost 130,000 refugees from numerous countries, including Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Afghanistan and Libya, he added.

The British prime minister insisted at a press conference that the African state, criticised last year by the UK for its human rights record, was one of the safest countries in the world. Home Office insiders confirmed the plan was to give detainees a “one-way ticket” to the country and “encourage” them to establish new lives there.

The migrants will be housed temporarily in facilities, generally hostels or hotels in Kigali, while their asylum claims are looked into, Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo told Reuters. "Once their claims are determined, they will be facilitated to integrate into the community," she said.

Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire said the country was hospitable but it should first solve its internal problems.

Johnson said the Rwandan plan would face legal challenges, but said the partnership was "fully compliant" with international legal obligations pointing out that the cost of the Rwanda plan will include an initial payment of £120m, as opposed to the present asylum system which was already costing £1.5 billion a year .

Johnson said his new Rwanda plan would “over time prove a very considerable deterrent”. However, it drew strong criticism from opposition parties, with the Labour Party's Yvette Cooper, saying it was costly, "unworkable and unethical".

The head of a refugee advocacy group said the plan violated the principle of granting asylum seekers a fair hearing on British soil. "I think it's rather extraordinary that the government is obsessing with control instead of focusing on competence and compassion," Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, told BBC radio.

The timing of the announcement has led to claims that Johnson is using the policy to deflect from becoming the first prime minister to be found guilty of a criminal charge while in office.

Opposition lawmakers said Johnson was trying to distract from the renewed calls on him to resign after being fined by police on Tuesday for attending a gathering for his birthday in June 2020 when social mixing was all but banned under COVID-19 rules his government had introduced.

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