The project provoked scandalized reactions from human rights organizations denouncing its “inhumanity”. According to an agreement formalized Thursday by London and Kigali, the United Kingdom now wishes to send to Rwanda migrants of all origins who have arrived illegally on British soil.
“From now on […]anyone entering the United Kingdom illegally as well as those who have arrived illegally since January 1 will now be able to be transferred to Rwanda”, announced the British Prime Minister in a speech delivered at Lydd airport in Kent (south -east of England).
Rwanda will be able to accommodate “tens of thousands of people in the years to come”, added Boris Johnson, presenting this East African country as one of the “safest in the world”. Boris Johnson has been looking for third countries for months to send asylum seekers there. Ghana, presented as a first track, firmly denied in January being in negotiation with the United Kingdom on the subject. But the agreement with Rwanda was confirmed this time by the authorities there.
“Rwanda welcomes this partnership with the United Kingdom to welcome asylum seekers and migrants, and offer them legal avenues to live,” Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said in a statement. The Rwandan government has clarified that it will offer the possibility “to settle permanently in Rwanda [à ces personnes si elles] wish”.
The United Kingdom has initially planned to finance the system to the tune of 120 million pounds sterling (144 M€).
But the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed Thursday its “strong opposition” to the project.
“People fleeing war, conflict and persecution deserve compassion and empathy. They should not be traded like commodities and taken overseas for treatment,” said Gillian Triggs, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner. responsible for international protection.
The navy will track migrants in the English Channel
Boris Johnson announced, at the same time, other measures against illegal immigration.
Helicopters, planes, drones… London is deploying the French Navy in the Channel, where it will now be responsible for tracking down migrants instead of the coast guard.
“As of today, the Royal Navy will take operational command in the English Channel […]with the aim that no boat arrives in the UK undetected,” said Boris Johnson.
“This will send a clear message to those who drive the boats: if you risk the lives of others in the Channel, you risk spending your own life in prison,” he said, releasing an envelope of 50 million books (€60 million), in human and material resources.
Centers dedicated to illegal immigrants
Centers dedicated to illegal immigrants, created on the Greek model, will also replace accommodation at the current hotel.
Boris Johnson, on the other hand, gave up his decried plan to repel boats entering British waters.
Stuck in the “partygate” of the name of the celebrations in Downing-Street during the confinement, unable to keep its promises of the Brexit campaign on the control of immigration, the number of illegal immigrants crossing the Channel having even tripled in 2021, the Conservative leader is now seeking a second wind in public opinion ahead of local elections next month.
On April 9, Boris Johnson made a publicized appearance alongside Volodymyr Zelensky in kyiv, as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine, whose population, bruised by the Russian invasion, is fleeing the country. It only took him five days to send a completely different signal to people of all origins on the road to exile.