A flight with asylum seekers from the United Kingdom to Rwanda may continue tomorrow. This is the first flight in the context of a controversial asylum plan, in which the British pay Rwanda to receive asylum seekers who illegally made the crossing to the United Kingdom via the Channel.
The British court finds that the flight is not illegal. With this, the court follows a judgment of a lower British judge last Friday. The appeal that three organizations filed against that ruling was to no avail.
Whether the flight will actually take place is still the question. The intention was that more than thirty asylum seekers would be brought to Rwanda with the first flight, but there are only eight of them left, say refugee organizations. A total of 130 people have been told that they are eligible for expulsion to Rwanda.
Individual cases in which asylum seekers argue, among other things, that their human rights are not guaranteed in Rwanda are successful in a number of cases. For example, an Iranian former policeman does not have to go on the run, writes The Guardian. He says he is not sure about his life in Rwanda, because the country has good ties with Iran.
Discouraging people smuggling
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the plan to evict asylum seekers to Rwanda in April. He says he wants to undermine the revenue model of people smugglers, because, according to him, the journey across the Channel is discouraged with the threat of deportation to Rwanda.
Boris Johnson announcing the plan:
Anyone who enters the country illegally is officially eligible for a one-way ticket to Rwanda, but according to British media, it is mainly about single young men. In total, more than 10,000 people have already ventured to the crossing from France to Great Britain this year. Human rights organisations point out that the number has not declined since the Rwanda plan was announced in April and therefore does not have a deterrent effect, as the British government claims.
In Rwanda, asylum seekers receive residence and support from the Rwandan government. It assesses whether they can stay in Rwanda. If so, they will receive a five-year residence permit and access to education, employment and other forms of support.
Asylum seekers whose applications are rejected are being helped seek out other migration options, the official plan reads, but critics wonder if that will actually happen. The British pay 120 million pounds (140 million euros) to Rwanda, for a period of five years initially.
The opposition and human rights organizations are highly critical of the plan. For example, they cite the poor human rights situation in Rwanda, where political opponents of the regime are murdered and tortured. One standout critic is reportedly Prince Charles. The British crown prince called the Rwanda plan “horrible” in a private conversation, reported British media. He would also fear that the plan would overshadow a summit of the member states of the British Commonwealth later this month in Rwanda.