Britain Sends First Asylum Seeker to Rwanda Under Voluntary Scheme, Plans Forced Deportations

Britain sends first asylum seeker to Rwanda under voluntary relocation scheme, despite legal challenges. The outcome could impact how countries handle the global refugee crisis.

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Olalekan Adigun
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Britain Sends First Asylum Seeker to Rwanda Under Voluntary Scheme, Plans Forced Deportations

Britain Sends First Asylum Seeker to Rwanda Under Voluntary Scheme, Plans Forced Deportations

Britain has sent its first asylum seeker to Rwanda under a voluntary scheme, where the government offers financial assistance to asylum seekers to relocate to the East African nation. The unnamed migrant, who is of African origin, was flown out of the UK on Monday and is now settling in Kigali, Rwanda's capital.

This voluntary relocation is separate from a forced deportation program that Britain plans to start in the next few months, seeking to deter asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel in small boats. The forced deportation scheme targets anyone who has arrived in the UK illegally after January 1, 2022, with over 50,000 people arriving since that date.

Under the voluntary scheme, the government has said it would pay asylum seekers up to £3,000 each to move to Rwanda to help clear the backlog of refugees who have arrived in the country in recent years. The successful removal and processing of the first migrant is seen as a significant moment for the government, as it demonstrates that the policy can be implemented in practice, despite previous legal challenges.

Why this matters: The British government's controversial plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda has faced strong opposition from human rights groups and the United Nations. The outcome of this policy could have significant implications for how other countries handle the global refugee crisis and the rights of asylum seekers.

The government has faced legal and political opposition to the policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, but Parliament has now passed the divisive legislation. Authorities are expected to start collecting people soon for the first deportation flights to Rwanda, despite protests from organizations working with asylum seekers. The government believes the scheme is legal as the resettlements would be voluntary. However, the Home Office has identified more than 5,700 migrants for removal, but only 2,145 of them continue to report to the Home Office and can be located for detention.

The Conservative government hopes the Rwanda deportations will help them recover ground in the polls ahead of the expected general election later this year. "This is the first time a migrant has been paid to leave the UK without going back to their country of origin," a government spokesperson said. "The scheme is aimed at removing migrants whose claims have been rejected and cannot return to their own country."

Key Takeaways

  • UK sends first asylum seeker to Rwanda under voluntary scheme.
  • UK plans forced deportation program to deter Channel crossings.
  • Govt offers up to £3,000 for asylum seekers to relocate to Rwanda.
  • Policy faces opposition from rights groups but govt believes it's legal.
  • Conservatives hope Rwanda deportations will boost poll numbers.