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UK’s Rwanda Deportation Plan Criticized by Human Rights Groups Post Bill Approval

International humanitarian organizations swiftly condemned the UK’s plans to send some asylum-seekers to Rwanda following the approval of legislation by Parliament.

Both the UN refugee agency and the Council of Europe called on the UK to reconsider its plans, citing concerns about the legislation’s impact on human rights protections and its potential damage to international cooperation in addressing the global migrant crisis.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi stated that the new legislation deviates from the UK’s longstanding tradition of providing refuge, thus breaching the Refugee Convention. He emphasized the importance of all countries upholding their obligations to protect refugees, regardless of their proximity to crisis zones.

The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Michael O’Flaherty, criticized the legislation for restricting asylum-seekers from seeking court intervention when faced with deportation threats. He raised concerns about the infringement of judicial independence and urged the UK government to refrain from implementing the deportation policy and reverse the bill.

The reaction from humanitarian organizations coincided with reports from French media of a tragic incident where at least five people died as a boat carrying over 100 migrants encountered trouble while attempting to cross the English Channel.

The UK government, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, defended its deportation plans, asserting that they would deter illegal crossings into Britain. The government argues that migrants would be less likely to risk the perilous journey across the channel if they know they might be sent to Rwanda.

The number of migrants arriving in Britain via small boats has significantly increased in recent years, reaching 45,774 in 2022 compared to just 299 four years earlier. This surge is attributed to people fleeing various crises and paying criminal groups to facilitate their journey.

In contrast, the Rwandan government welcomed the approval of the bill, highlighting the country’s efforts to establish safety and security since the genocide three decades ago. A government spokesperson expressed Rwanda’s commitment to the migration and economic development partnership with the UK and anticipated the arrival of relocated individuals.

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