UK Pays Rwanda $300 Million for Blocked Asylum Deal, No Flights Take Off
December 9, 2023 | by b1og.net
In a puzzling turn of events, the United Kingdom has paid Rwanda a staggering $300 million for a failed asylum plan that has yet to see a single flight take off. The plan, which aimed to send migrants who reached Britain via the English Channel to Rwanda for processing their asylum claims, was deemed illegal by the U.K. Supreme Court due to concerns over the safety of refugees in the East African country. Despite the ruling and the mounting cost, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak remains determined to push forward with the plan. This article explores the controversy surrounding the blocked asylum deal and the implications it holds for the U.K. government’s immigration policy.
Background of the Asylum Deal
The asylum deal between the UK and Rwanda was struck in April 2022 with the aim of addressing the issue of unauthorized asylum-seekers arriving in Britain from France via small boats. Under the deal, migrants who reached Britain would be sent to Rwanda, where their asylum claims would be processed. However, the plan faced a challenge in UK courts, and in a recent ruling, the Supreme Court deemed the policy illegal, stating that Rwanda is not a safe country for refugees. Despite this setback, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed his commitment to pressing on with the plan. The cost of the plan has raised concerns, given that no flights to Rwanda have taken off yet. The UK government has already paid 240 million pounds ($300 million) to Rwanda, almost double the initial amount previously disclosed.
Payment Made to Rwanda
To date, the UK has made a total payment of 240 million pounds to Rwanda as part of the asylum deal. This includes an additional payment of 100 million pounds in the 2023-2024 financial year. The Home Office expects to make a further payment of 50 million pounds in the next 12 months. These payments have been made despite the fact that no migrants have been sent to Rwanda under the agreement. The large sum of money allocated to the partnership has raised questions about its cost-effectiveness and utilization.
Defense of the Cost
The UK government has defended the cost of the asylum deal with Rwanda, citing the need for infrastructure support to facilitate the partnership. Junior Immigration Minister Tom Pursglove emphasized that the funds allocated to the project would ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to support the processing and accommodation of asylum-seekers in Rwanda. He also stated that part of the funds would be used to address the concerns raised by the Supreme Court about the legality of the policy. While some critics have described the expenditure as an unforgivable waste of taxpayers’ money, the government maintains that it is necessary to address the ongoing issue of unauthorized asylum-seekers.
Criticism and Opposition
The asylum deal with Rwanda has faced significant criticism and opposition. Critics argue that the payments made to Rwanda represent an unforgivable waste of taxpayers’ money, especially considering that no migrants have been sent to the country. Concerns have also been raised about the human rights obligations and the suitability of Rwanda as a safe destination for asylum-seekers. The opposition Liberal Democrats have condemned the deal, stating that it fails to effectively address the issue of unauthorized asylum-seekers and is an inefficient use of public funds. The criticism and opposition to the deal highlight the need for further scrutiny and evaluation of its efficacy.
Treaty Signed and Law Proposed
Following the Supreme Court ruling, the UK and Rwanda have signed a treaty aimed at strengthening protections for migrants. The treaty reflects the government’s determination to address the legal challenges raised regarding the policy. Additionally, the UK government has proposed a new law that would declare Rwanda a safe destination for asylum-seekers. The law, which is scheduled for its first vote in the House of Commons, would allow the government to disapply certain sections of UK human rights law in relation to Rwanda-related asylum claims. The proposed law aims to make it more difficult to challenge deportations to Rwanda in court.
Concerns within the Conservative Party
The proposed law and the asylum deal have ignited a debate within the ruling Conservative Party. Centrist Conservative lawmakers have expressed opposition to the bill, citing concerns about potential breaches of human rights obligations. Former Conservative Solicitor-General Edward Garnier argued that the bill is attempting to define things without sufficient evidence, comparing it to a bill declaring that all dogs are cats. On the other hand, the party’s authoritarian right-wing faction, which views curbing immigration as vital, believes that the bill is too lenient and does not go far enough. There are even calls to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, with some advocating for a more stringent approach to immigration.
Pressure on Prime Minister Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing increasing pressure regarding the asylum deal and the proposed law. The resignation of Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has added to the tension within the party. Jenrick criticized the bill, stating that it did not go far enough in curbing immigration. This resignation has further highlighted the divisions within the Conservative Party on the issue. Sunak’s stance on the proposed law is crucial, as he must navigate the delicate balance between appeasing different factions within his party and ensuring that the asylum plan remains viable. The tensions within the party over this issue will undoubtedly impact future party dynamics and strategies.
Social Media Controversy
The Conservative Party’s handling of the asylum plan and the proposed law has sparked controversy on social media. The party posted an attack ad targeting the Labour opposition, featuring an image of a BBC presenter making a rude gesture. The ad received mixed reactions from Tory lawmakers, with some approvingly retweeting the image, while others criticized it as crass and beneath the party’s standards. The incident has triggered a debate surrounding appropriate party conduct and the need for respectful and constructive political discourse. As social media plays an increasingly prominent role in political communication, incidents like these highlight the challenges of maintaining a positive and unified image.
In summary, the UK’s asylum deal with Rwanda has faced significant challenges and scrutiny. The Supreme Court ruling declaring the policy illegal has cast doubt on the feasibility of the plan, while the large financial commitments without any tangible results have raised concerns about the cost-effectiveness of the partnership. Opposition and criticism have centered around the perceived waste of taxpayers’ money and concerns about human rights obligations. The proposed law and the divisions within the Conservative Party further complicate the situation, with different factions advocating for different approaches to immigration. Prime Minister Sunak faces considerable pressure in navigating these challenges and finding a resolution that satisfies all stakeholders. The implications for both the asylum plan and the government’s broader immigration agenda are significant and will shape the future direction of immigration policy in the UK.