Sunak govt reportedly deports first asylum seeker from UK to Rwanda

Britain has deported its first asylum seeker to Rwanda, The Sun Newspaper reported, saying the unnamed migrant was flown out of the country on Monday. (Photo/AP)

Britain has deported its first asylum seeker to Rwanda, The Sun Newspaper reported, saying the unnamed migrant was flown out of the country on Monday.

The flight was part of a voluntary scheme — separate from a forced deportation programme that Britain is about to embark on in the next few months, seeking to deter asylum seekers from coming to the UK.

Under the voluntary scheme, the government has said it would pay asylum seekers up to 3,000 pounds [$3,747.60] each to move to Rwanda to help clear the backlog of refugees who have arrived in the country in recent years.

This new agreement is part of UK government policy, where some asylum seekers are offered financial assistance to leave Britain for their home country, but under this plan people will get the money if they agree to live in the East African country.

The UK government has spent two years trying to overcome legal and political opposition to the policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, some 6,400 km away, which it hopes will act as a deterrent.

Parliament finally passed the divisive legislation last week and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he expected the first flights to take off in 10 to 12 weeks.

Critics have slammed the government's cash for humans plan as a "piece of racist legislation" which puts Black and Brown people at risk.

One organisation which works with asylum seekers said on X that they were protesting outside an immigration processing centre in south London to prevent a forced removal from the building. Media reports have said authorities will start collecting people soon for the first deportation flights to Rwanda.

A British government document published on Monday showed that the first asylum seekers to be deported from Britain to Rwanda would come from a group of 5,700 people that Kigali has agreed in principle to take.

But the document suggested the government would only be able to easily detain just over 2,000 of these.

Violative of international law

Under the forced deportation scheme, anyone who has arrived "illegally" after January 1, 2022 is eligible to be deported to Rwanda. More than 50,000 people have arrived since that date, official figures show.

UK's refugee deportation policy has been panned by rights activists as fundamentally flawed because Rwanda doesn't provide a safe haven for refugees.

The criticism emanates not only from the broader treatment of refugees, but also the profound value the UK attributes to the humanity of the individuals who are most likely to be impacted by this policy.

Moreover, the policy is largely considered unfeasible and violative of international law by most experts.

Critics of the policy also note that it appears to be a desperate attempt by Rishi Sunak's Conservative government — to facilitate the repatriation of an asylum seeker in the UK — seemingly to garner electoral support for the ruling party in a local election.


Source: TRT