Boris Johnson's distraction plan: Forget partygate, let's 'take back control' of UK borders

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg
Kent, United Kingdom Updated: Apr 15, 2022, 02:50 PM(IST)

Concerns were also expressed about Rwanda's human rights record, which even the British government highlighted last year. Rwanda, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), violates some of the most basic human rights. Photograph:( AFP )

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Johnson, who has been for quite some time has been embattled in the ‘partygate scandal’ has been facing pressure to deliver on his 2016 campaign promise to "take back control" of Britain's borders

Britain is planning to send tens of thousands of asylum seekers to the East African country of Rwanda. United Kingdom’s move is to break people-smuggling networks, thereby stemming the flow of migrants across the English Channel.

Opposition MPs accused Johnson of trying to divert attention away from his fine for violating coronavirus lockdown guidelines, while human rights groups criticised the project as "inhumane."

"People fleeing war, conflict and persecution deserve compassion and empathy. They should not be traded like commodities and transferred abroad for processing," said Gillian Triggs, UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.

Announcing the plan on Thursday UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a speech in Kent, said "we must ensure that the only route to asylum in the UK is a safe and legal one."

Also read | UK MP convicted of sexual assault against teen quits to focus on clearing his name; triggers by-elections

Johnson, who has been for quite some time has been embattled in the ‘partygate scandal’ has been facing pressure to deliver on his 2016 campaign promise to "take back control" of Britain's borders.

Labour Party’s Yvette Cooper, called the plan, "unworkable and unethical."

Watch | Britain hardens its migration policy, plans to send migrants to Rwanda

Concerns were also expressed about Rwanda's human rights record, which even the British government highlighted last year.

Rwanda, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), violates some of the most basic human rights.

"Refugees have been abused in Rwanda and the government has, at times, kidnapped Rwandan refugees outside the country to bring them home to face trial and ill-treatment," said HRW's Central Africa director Lewis Mudge.

Also read | UK: Govt move to send asylum seekers to Rwanda leads to sharp criticism     

Under this plan people who have arrived in the UK illegally since January 1 can now be relocated to Rwanda.

"Those who try to jump the queue or abuse our systems will find no automatic path to set them up in our country, but rather be swiftly and humanely removed to a safe third country or their country of origin," said Johnson.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the collaboration agreement in Kigali and on Thursday presented it at a joint news conference with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta.

The strategy will face legal hurdles, according to Johnson, but the alliance is "fully compliant" with international legal requirements. The British government would make a 120 million pound ($158 million) initial contribution.

(With inputs from agencies)

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