‘Not prepared’: What UK PM Starmer said on Rwanda deportation plan in first press brief

    In his first press conference after being elected as UK PM, Labour Party’s Keir Starmer on Saturday said he was “not prepared” to continue with the previous Rishi Sunak-led Conservative government’s Rwanda migrants deportation scheme.

    “The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started… I’m not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don’t act as a deterrent,” Starmer told reporters.

    The Rwanda plan, finalised in April 2022 under the leadership of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, stipulates that individuals who entered the United Kingdom unlawfully after January 1, 2022, will be relocated to Rwanda, a country situated approximately 4,000 miles (6,400 km) from Britain.

    The legislation, a key policy of the Conservative government, aims at reducing irregular migration across the English Channel from northern France.

    Rishi Sunak, who stepped down as UK PM on Friday after crushing defeat in the national polls, had said, “We introduced the Rwanda Bill to deter vulnerable migrants from making perilous crossings and break the business model of the criminal gangs who exploit them. The passing of this legislation will allow us to do that and make it very clear that if you come here illegally, you will not be able to stay.”

    In April, Sunak faced opposition in Parliament and legal challenges in British courts while trying to push through this bill, with lawmakers and activists raising concerns about human rights implications.

    The government’s attempts to implement this policy had led to significant embarrassment, as millions of pounds sent to Rwanda for a program did not yield any constructive results.

    The law stipulates that UK courts will be unable to assess the overall safety of Rwanda. However, individual cases may still need to be evaluated independently, although the scope for doing so will be significantly restricted.

    Named the Safety of Rwanda Bill, it came in the wake of a UK Supreme Court ruling halting deportation flights due to concerns over migrant safety in Rwanda.

    Following the negotiation of a new treaty with Rwanda aimed at enhancing migrant protection, the government introduced legislation designating Rwanda as a safe destination.

    The UK has made payments exceeding £200 million ($304 million) to Rwanda, even though no deportations have occurred yet.

    Resettling approximately 300 refugees in the African nation could potentially cost over £600 million. Currently, the agreement allows for up to 50,000 individuals to be sent to Rwanda. However, there is still uncertainty surrounding the number of people Rwanda has the capacity to accommodate.

    Source link

    Latest articles


    Related articles