Boris Johnson has announced a $158 mln “innovative” migration partnership with Rwanda
On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a £120 million ($158 million) deal which would enable the UK to relocate illegal migrants to Rwanda.
Speaking in Kent, Johnson said that while Britain’s “The power of compassion can be limitless” its capacity to help people is not.
“We can’t ask the British taxpayer to write a blank check to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here,” he said.
Johnson pointed out that, since 2015, the UK has offered refuge for over 185,000 people, and is now welcoming “Unlimited numbers” of Ukrainian refugees.
Uncontrolled migration causes tremendous pressure on the UK’s social services, and therefore, the prime minister argued, the policies require an urgent change, especially when it comes to those who try to “Avoid the system” by paying people smugglers.
“So, from today, our new Migration and Economic Development Partnership will mean that anyone entering the UK illegally – as well as those who have arrived illegally since January 1st – may now be relocated to Rwanda,” Johnson announced.
According to the prime minister, the deal comes not only as a relief for the UK but also as a powerful instrument to disrupt “Business model for the Gangs.”
Johnson emphasized that Rwanda was “It is one of the best countries to live in.” and was capable of resettling “Tens of thousands” in the years ahead.
Moreover, the prime minister hopes that the partnership with Rwanda will set “A new standard international approach to addressing global migration challenges and people smuggling.”
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel on Thursday signed a five-year agreement with the Rwandan government in the country’s capital, Kigali.
✍🏽🇬🇧🇷🇼Part of my global partnership today with Rwanda. This will help me break down the deadly people smugglers business model, and protect vulnerable individuals through legal and safe routes. #NewPlanForImmigration. pic.twitter.com/pqJc7Dc4IJ
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) April 14, 2022
Under this agreement, the UK is investing £120 million into the economic development and growth of Rwanda. According to the Home Office, Britain will provide financial support to assist in the delivery and accommodation of asylum, as well as integration.
Johnson also announced that, starting from Thursday, the Royal Navy would “Take over the operational command from Border Force” in the English Channel and would be responsible for identifying, intercepting, and investigating the suspicious boats.
“This will be supported with £50 million of new funding for new boats, aerial surveillance and military personnel in addition to the existing taskforce of patrol vessels, Wildcat helicopters, search and rescue aircraft, drones and remotely piloted aircraft,” the prime minister said.
As one would expect, the UK government’s announcements have been met with a massive backlash. The Refugee Council – a charity which stands up for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK – said that it was “appalled by the Government’s cruel and nasty decision” and urged it “to immediately rethink its plans.”
According to the council’s CEO, Enver Solomon, the new Migration Partnership “will do little to deter them from coming to this country, but only lead to more human suffering and chaos – at a huge expense of an estimated £1.4 billion a year.”
UK Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper called the government’s Rwanda plan “extortionate as well as unworkable & unethical.”
The choice of Rwanda to be a refugee country for migrants is also controversial. Rwanda, which was notorious for its ethnic genocide of Tutsi in 1994, had a poor track record of human rights, according Amnesty International reports and the State Department.
Foreseeing the criticism, the prime minister responded to it in his speech by asking critics, “What is your alternative?”
It has always been an issue in the UK. The number of illegal migrants crossing the English Channel continues to rise despite many deaths. Johnson estimates that around 600 migrants arrived in the UK via boats on Wednesday.
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