UK Passes Controversial Law To Send Asylum Seekers To Rwanda

UK Passes Controversial Law To Send Asylum Seekers To Rwanda

The controversial Rwanda Bill, which becomes new legislation by the conservative government with the target of sending back undocumented asylum seekers, receives outrage from the UN and right groups.

Manasi KambleUpdated: Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 09:54 AM IST
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Rishi Sunak at the 'Stop the boats' press conference |

London: The Rishi Sunak government has passed the controversial Rwanda Bill to send undocumented asylum seekers to Rwanda. The bill aims to make Rwanda a "safe country" for asylum seekers arriving illegally in the UK. However, the UN and Human Rights organisations have criticised the decision, fearing for the safety and future of the asylum seekers.

'Fundamental change in global equation on migration': Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been a strong supporter of the bill. In a statement on Tuesday, he claimed the passing of the Rwanda bill was "not just a step forward but a fundamental change in the global equation on migration."

He said, "We introduced the Rwanda bill to deter vulnerable migrants from making perilous crossings and break the business model of the criminal gangs who exploit them.

"The passing of this legislation will allow us to do that and make it very clear that if you come here illegally, you will not be able to stay.

"Our focus is to now get flights off the ground, and I am clear that nothing will stand in our way of doing that and saving lives."

The Rwanda Bill

Under the Rwanda scheme, all the undocumented asylum-seekers who enter Britain would be sent to Rwanda, where the asylum claims sought by each individual would be inspected, and only if the claims were approved would they be allowed to stay in Rwanda. Under this bill, any asylum seeker who arrived illegally in Britain will be sent to Rwanda by the UK government.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said deportations are expected to begin in 10–12 weeks, with migrants identified for the first flight due to being detained and held as early as this week.

Rwanda said it was "pleased" to see the bill passed and was looking forward to "welcoming those relocated to Rwanda."

Impact on UK

The impact of the bill is yet to be seen. It has passed its second reading in Parliament but faces further hurdles. Potential consequences include:

Strained relations with the UN and other countries that criticise the policy.

Legal challenges that could delay or block implementation.

Increased public debate on immigration and the UK's role in supporting refugees.

The high cost of the scheme will cost up to £150,874 for each asylum seeker sent back to Rwanda. If the UK sends 300 people to Rwanda, it will cost the taxpayer £490 million under the partnership, an additional £6 million in individual payments, and £45 million for processing and operational costs over five years.

UN rights chief urges UK to reconsider the scheme

The bill has faced criticism from various human rights groups. The UN and human rights organisations have expressed concerns that Rwanda might not be a safe country for asylum seekers and that the bill undermines the UK's international obligations.

UN rights chief Volker Turk and UN refugee head Filippo Grande urged the government to "reconsider" the scheme, pleading that it instead "take practical measures to address irregular flows of refugees and migrants, based on international cooperation and respect for international human rights law."

The UK Supreme Court previously ruled that sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful. Additionally, many people in the UK believe the bill is inhumane and impractical.

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