Rwanda offshoring plan disregards human rights and international law

The Conservative government of the #UK introduced an #asylum policy on April 14 2022, allowing for export of #asylumseekers to #Rwanda, a Commonwealth country in Central Africa. The Labour Party has criticised the plan, calling it a plan of “torture and trafficking victims”, while Home Secretary Priti Patel has called it “bold and innovative”.⁣

The policymakers said the plan is aimed at illegal #immigrants who have crossed the English Channel to enter UK to seek refuge. The UK has signed a deal with the Rwandan government, ensuring payment of £120m as an 'economic transformation and integration fund' and £20000 to £30000 for every person sent to Rwanda. Exported refugees will have their asylum requests verified in Rwanda. If successful, they will receive permanent residency permits within the country but will not be allowed to re-enter the UK to re-seek asylum afterwards.⁣

Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims this plan will tackle human trafficking, saving countless lives. Yet, the policy has faced severe criticisms from the population and politicians alike. #UNHCR has declared strong opposition, saying that it is “contrary to the letter and spirit of the Refugee Convention”. The Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and the Archbishop of Canterbury has called it unethical. There have also been questions on Rwandan disregard for human rights, as seen during the Rwandan genocide in the 1990s.⁣

Multiple cases have been filed against the plan, though the Supreme Court had initially allowed the refugees to be flown out. The first flight, scheduled for 14th June, had to be cancelled last minute due to intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (#ECHR). A judicial review for the policy has been scheduled in the same court for July, as Patel assures that the plan will go on despite legal challenges. The Home Office has also planned to electronically tag refugees to stop them from 'absconding' the policy, inviting further criticisms.⁣

The Government’s refusal to negotiate an alternative solution while pushing on with such an inhumane plan shows their disregard for refugee rights and the international body of laws.

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