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The UK government to offshore asylum seekers to Rwanda

British Home Secretary #PritiPatel signed an agreement during her visit to Rwanda’s capital, #Kigali. As a result, the U.K. will now send asylum seekers to #Rwanda, a commonwealth country. After nine months of negotiations and many failed attempts to reach comparable deals with other countries, this deal was sealed for £120 million as an initial down payment to the Rwandan government.

#BorisJohnson said calls this an “innovative approach’’ a “humanitarian’’ deal in providing “safer” routes to obtaining asylum and weeding off the gangs of “economic migrants” from the British crop.

Boris Johnson also called Rwanda "one of the safest countries in the world, globally recognized for its record of welcoming and integrating migrants." However, last year, the U.K. expressed concern over "continued restrictions to civil and political rights and media freedom" in Rwanda under the regime of General Paul #Kagame. They noted allegations of extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, and torture.

An “#offshoring” policy for asylum seekers is a first for the #UK. Still, it has been done – against a backdrop of controversy – in other parts of the world. #Australia started placing asylum seekers in detention centres on Nauru and #Manus Island. But a similar migration deal between Rwanda and #Israel between 2014 and 2017. #Denmark, too, had negotiations with Rwanda for potential offshoring, but the deal is yet to come through.

We, at Rethinking Refugees, condemn this inhumane policy. Unfortunately, refugees do not have the luxury to apply for a visa and arrive ''legally'' when safety is their priority. They are refugees because they need protection, regardless of how they come. Furthermore, this policy is not about safety but a mere showcase of racism. Somehow, spending £120 million is more viable than giving refugees opportunities in the UK's labour market. We oppose this blatant discrimination. This is not an offshoring plan but a 'dumping' plan that reeks of dehumanisation. Priti Patel's policies have never been emulating acceptance, but this is yet another showdown of imperial power hinging on the final traces of #colonialism.

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