UK to send Channel asylum seekers to Rwanda: Reports

Agreement to be announced on Thursday will target people trying to reach England in small boats and claim asylum.

The United Kingdom is expected to sign a deal to send male asylum seekers who cross the English Channel in small boats to Rwanda while their claims are processed in the UK.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will sign the 120 million pound ($158m) agreement for a “migration and economic development partnership” in Kigali, the capital of land-locked Rwanda on Thursday, according to the Times newspaper. It said the cost would be funded by UK taxpayers. There was no immediate response from Rwanda.

Crossing the Channel in small boats will also be made a crime, and those who are allowed to stay will have to live in strictly-controlled camp-like environments while their cases are considered, the paper said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is under renewed pressure after being fined by police for breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules at a number of parties in his office, is also set to announce new plans to tackle people-smuggling gangs and increase UK operations in the Channel.

Critics say Johnson is trying to divert attention from his own behaviour amid calls for his resignation over the repeated lockdown breaches.

Last year, more than 28,000 people crossed from Europe to the UK, many in small dinghies.

“Before Christmas 27 people drowned, and in the weeks ahead there may be many more losing their lives at sea, and whose bodies may never be recovered,” Johnson will say according to his office. “Around 600 came across the Channel yesterday. In just a few weeks this could again reach a thousand a day.”

Johnson is expected to announce a “long-term plan for asylum”, according to his office.

Having “control” of the UK’s borders was the rallying cry for the ‘No’ campaign in the divisive 2016 referendum on whether the country should stay in the European Union.

In January, British media said that the government planned to deploy the navy in charge of efforts to deal with the Channel crossings. The sea, which is also busy with commercial shipping, is about 34km (21 miles) across at its narrowest point, and most of the small boats attempt the crossing in the northern summer when the weather is better.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy