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Migration: UK signs new asylum deal with Rwanda

Migration: UK signs new asylum deal with Rwanda
December 05
20:50 2023

The United Kingdom (UK) has signed a new asylum deal with Rwanda which will allow for migrants to be deported legally to the East African nation.

James Cleverly, home secretary, and Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s foreign minister, signed the deal on Tuesday in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city.

The Rwanda scheme which is at the centre of the UK’s strategy to stop illegal migration has faced criticism from human rights organisations.

Last month, the British supreme court ruled that the plan would violate international human rights laws.

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The court noted that there were substantial grounds to believe that genuine refugees sent to the country could be at risk of being returned to countries from which they have fled.

Under the new treaty, anyone sent to Rwanda would be given permanent leave to remain there even if their asylum application fails, while they would be allowed to work and access public services.

There will also be a monitoring committee to enable individuals to lodge confidential complaints directly to them, and a new appeal body made up of judges from around the world.

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Cleverly said the treaty is a permanent solution to the supreme court’s concerns and a crucial step forward in the government’s commitment to stopping illegal migration and saving lives.

“We remain steadfast in doing everything we can to stop illegal migration, and our wider, ongoing work operationally and internationally has led to crossings coming down by a third compared to last year,” the minister added.

Biruta said the partnership with the UK reflects Rwanda’s commitment to protecting vulnerable people, and assured that the migrants would be protected.

“Rwanda and the UK both understand that there’s a critical need to find innovative solutions to address the suffering of migrants making dangerous, desperate journeys, under the exploitation of criminal human smugglers,” the home office quoted the minister as saying.

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“The people relocated to Rwanda will be welcomed, and they will be provided with both the safety and support they need to build new lives.”

In return, Rwanda has received an initial payment of 140 million pounds with the promise of more money to fund the accommodation and care of deported individuals.

The development comes amid the intense pressure that Rishi Sunak, UK prime minister, is facing from parliament to cut net migration, which hit a record 745,000 last year.

On Monday, Sunak unveiled stricter measures that would make entry into the country harder than it previously was.

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