Interior Minister Suella Braverman, who is of Indian origin herself, will meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame and says removal of asylum seekers to the Central African nation could be put into action shortly.
British Interior Minister
Suella Braverman will visit Rwanda this weekend to discuss an
agreement where Britain will relocate refugees and migrants who arrive
without permission as she doubles down on a plan mired in legal challenges and controversy.
Britain agreed to send tens of thousands of refugees and migrants more
than 6,400 km to Rwanda as part of a $146 million deal last year, though no flights
have taken off as opponents challenge the policy in the courts.
The partnership is a significant part of Britain’s plans to detain
and deport asylum seekers arriving in small boats across the
Channel, a proposal some charities say could be impractical and
criminalise the efforts of thousands of genuine refugees.
Braverman will meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame during the
trip, and said that the removal of migrants to Rwanda could be
put into action shortly.
“I am visiting Rwanda this weekend to reinforce the
government’s commitment to the partnership as part of our plan
to stop the boats and discuss plans to operationalise our
agreement shortly,” she said in a statement.
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The partnership was announced in April, but the European Court of Human Rights injunction blocked the first deportation flight.
London’s High Court then ruled it lawful in December, but
opponents are seeking to appeal that verdict in April and it
could yet go to Britain’s Supreme Court later in the year.
Braverman has robustly defended her approach, described her
opponents as “naive do-gooders.”
In October last year, Braverman, who is of Indian origin herself, said Britain has too many “low-skilled” migrant workers and a high number of international students in an interview with The Sun newspaper.
Opposition parties and
charities have described the governments plans on immigration as
unethical and unworkable.
After a record 45,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Britain last year on small boats, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that finding a solution is one of his top priorities.
Britain spends more than 2 billion pounds a year to accommodate them, and has tendered a $95 million contract to transport them to countries like Rwanda instead.
READ MORE: Britain to present new legislation to curb migrant boat arrivals