Rwanda Immigration Scheme: UK Pre-Warned of Alleged Rights Violations
On Tues., the UK government petitioned the High Court to keep confidential comments by a Foreign Office (FCDO) official about the alleged human rights and political situation in Rwanda, due to their sensitivity and potential to harm UK-Rwanda relations.
- On Tues., the UK government petitioned the High Court to keep confidential comments by a Foreign Office (FCDO) official about the alleged human rights and political situation in Rwanda, due to their sensitivity and potential to harm UK-Rwanda relations. Reportedly, the advice was given weeks before the government tried sending asylum seekers to the country.
- The comments were allegedly made in an Apr. 26 email, as well as in a draft of the Rwanda "Country Policy and Information Note." Both were written by a FCDO African affairs expert, who alleged that Rwanda uses arbitrary detention, torture, and killings to enforce control.
- Media organizations and asylum seekers have urged the disclosure of the comments in the public interest. Lord Justice Clive Lewis is expected to rule on whether the materials should be made public on Wed., while a full hearing on the legality of Britain's controversial immigration policy is set for Sept. 5.
- High profile allegations of human rights violations include Feb. 2021 accusations by the UK High Commissioner to Rwanda that the nation recruited refugees to attack neighboring states. In May 2021, the Foreign Office urged the UK government to avoid making any deals with Rwanda due to ongoing human rights concerns.
- In Apr. 2022, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that the UK had agreed to send asylum seekers to Rwanda to process their applications. The deal is purportedly intended to prevent people-smuggling and deter migrants from crossing the Channel to the UK - more than 20K have made the journey so far this year.
- If the High Court finds that the policy is illegal, Britain will not be able to recoup the £120M initial payment to Rwanda for the scheme.
Sources: BBC News, FT, Guardian, and Standard.
- Left narrative, as provided by Guardian. The Rwanda plan isn't only an ineffective policy that violates the UN Refugee Convention (1951), it's also a disgrace to Britain and its role on the global stage. The UK can't dodge its responsibilities by offshoring and outsourcing its asylum system – especially not to Rwanda, which has a known track record of human rights violations. A solution can only be reached when root causes are tackled and a fair, humane asylum system is created.
- Right narrative, as provided by The Sun. The global asylum system is broken and those criticizing the Rwanda plan have failed to offer any alternative. The African country is safe, secure, and known to help refugees without discrimination – besides, case-by-case analyses will prevent potentially inappropriate transfers, complying with domestic and international norms. This is the best way to prevent people smugglers profiteering from abuse.