UN, criticism of Britain on the law for immigrants who will be sent to Rwanda

2024-04-24 16:34:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

UN, criticism of Britain on the law for immigrants who will be sent to Rwanda

After years of political wrangling and court battles, British lawmakers this week approved legislation the government hopes will stem the flow of migrants coming into the country through the English Channel. As Voice of America correspondent Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the migrants will be sent to Rwanda, where they will undergo the document processing process. The law was approved even though the dangers faced by immigrants who arrive in Britain in small boats and dinghies were brought to the attention of the parliament.

Five people died, including a child, when an overloaded dinghy carrying migrants ran aground off the French coast on Tuesday morning. A bitter reminder of the dangers immigrants face as they cross the English Channel.

French authorities say there were 112 people on board.

" Despite the complex and delicate situation, we managed to save 57 people. The others managed to restart the engine and continue the journey to Britain ", said Jacques Billant, Prefect of the Pas-de-Calais region.

Similar cases, of immigrants who continue their journey despite the dangers, are not rare. So far this year, over 6,300 people have undertaken the small boat journey to Britain. The incident happened just hours after British lawmakers passed legislation aimed at sending all asylum seekers arriving through the English Channel to Rwanda.

Immigrants will be processed in Rwanda and will not be allowed to return to Britain, even those granted refugee status. The law instructs courts to ignore existing British laws or international treaties that could block deportations. It is not yet clear whether further legal challenges could delay the departure in a few weeks of migrants on special flights to Rwanda.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said sending migrants thousands of miles away would prevent others from coming to Britain.

" The first plane will take off in about 12 weeks. Of course this is later than we would like it to be. But we have always been clear that the processing process will take time ," he said.

The government says the policy is based on morality, as it aims to end dangerous journeys operated by human smugglers. But the United Nations called on Britain to reconsider the matter.

" By avoiding accountability for refugees, reducing the ability of British courts to review deportation decisions, limiting access to domestic remedies and the range of human rights protection for a certain group of people, this new law seriously hinders the rule of law in Britain and sets a dangerous international precedent ," said UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani.

Under the agreement, Britain will pay Rwanda at least $458 million over five years, with additional payments worth tens of thousands of dollars for each migrant sent to the country. The opposition has called the law a costly trick that will not work. Its approval after several years of delays is seen as a political victory for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

But whether the law will succeed in stopping immigrants from undertaking dangerous and deadly journeys through the English Channel remains to be seen./ VOA

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