London on Tuesday announced that it has begun deporting illegal immigrants from Britain to Rwanda, signing an agreement between the two countries to allow them to be deported, which human rights groups oppose and seek to prevent through the judiciary.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel has indicated that the first batch of them will be deported on June 14 if they do not challenge the court’s decision to deport them.
“While we know there will be efforts to thwart the process and delay deportation, I will not back down and will be determined to implement what the British public expects,” Patel said in a statement.
He hailed the “new stage” in implementing a partnership with Rwanda as part of the government’s strategy to “reform the broken asylum system and break the kidnapping business network”.
Those deported to Rwanda will be able to “rebuild their lives there with full security,” the statement said.
When the controversial plan was announced in mid-April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will travel to Kigali to attend the Commonwealth summit in late June, said human rights groups were expected to take legal action.
Rwanda has announced that it has signed a multi-million dollar agreement with Britain to repatriate asylum seekers and immigrants to the United Kingdom as part of its efforts to curb illegal immigration.
The Rwandan government has said it will offer immigrants the opportunity to “permanently immigrate to Rwanda if they wish.”
Under the deal, London will initially fund the move for up to 120 million (1 141 million).
Last year, more than 28,000 people from France came to Britain via canals in small boats, and dozens of them drowned.
The agreement, which allows the UK to deport immigrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda, has drawn strong criticism from human rights groups, opposition parties in both countries and the United Nations.
One of the organizations that wanted to challenge the decision of the British government quickly condemned the Secretary of the Interior’s announcement, regretting that this decision preceded the celebration of Platinum’s accession to the throne of Queen Elizabeth II.
“What a way to celebrate the Jubilee weekend by claiming that victims of torture and slavery will travel thousands of miles and be deported safely,” Bella Changi, director of the Refugee Advocacy Prevention Organization, said in a statement on Twitter.
Earlier, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had expressed strong opposition to the agreement, saying asylum seekers deserved sympathy and could not be treated as a commodity.
Human Rights Watch condemned the agreement, saying Rwanda did not respect basic human rights and spoke out against abuses against refugees in Rwandan territory.
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