The Johnson plan outraged the British public

The scandal over the scheme promoted by the British government to send migrants illegally arriving in the United Kingdom to the African country of Rwanda for “overexposure” has reached its climax: the first settlers willy-nilly are already waiting on the Black Continent. Human rights activists, religious leaders and even Crown Prince Charles condemned the program as inhumane. But the authorities insist they are right.

Photo: AP

The first batch of migrants who want to settle in the UK, from foggy Albion, according to an agreement between London and Rwanda, should go to a small East African country in the near future (called Tuesday evening) – and there wait until the British authorities issue a verdict on asylum.

On Tuesday, the press reported that a Boeing 767 from a Spanish charter airline licensed to fly to Kigali, Rwanda, was spotted at a military airfield in Wiltshire. Journalists suggest that it is this board that is supposed to send illegal migrants to Africa who arrived without permission on British shores. Last year, more than 28,000 people crossed the English Channel in small boats from mainland Europe to the UK – more than three times the number in 2020. More than half were either Iranian or Iraqi, Eritrean or Syrian, according to the Interior Ministry.

Some British politicians suspect that refugees from Ukraine, who have not received visas to the UK, rushing to the UK, can also use this route. Therefore, a few weeks ago, the media discussed the possibility of sending to Rwanda those Ukrainians who are trying to reach British territory by illegal means (including through the “transparent” border between Ireland, which is part of the EU, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom). Despite the fact that representatives of official London denied such rumors, such a possibility seems to have not been completely removed from the agenda until now.

Most of the migrants for whom British officials have prepared another trip (now to Rwanda) They don't want to go to Africa in any way.

Sky News gives the example of Zahir, 25, who fled Iraq two months ago. He claims his life was in danger after he got into a fight with a government-connected family member who threatened to kill him. For about a month, the Iraqi traveled to the shores of the English Channel through Turkey and European countries, traveling mainly in the back of a truck. He spent another nine days in Calais and then boarded a small boat that took him to Great Britain. A few weeks later, British officials announced that he and his friend, with whom he was traveling, would be sent on the first flight to Rwanda. So the young man was faced with the prospect of going deep into the Dark Continent, where he could spend an indefinitely long time while his application for asylum in Britain was considered. And it's not yet certain that permission will be obtained,

“I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't do anything,” Zahir complains. “We don't want to go to Rwanda.”

The “Rwandan scheme” has been heavily criticized from various quarters. Labor opposition officials say the government's program to tackle illegal immigration is not only unworkable and unethical, but incredibly expensive. In particular, the leadership of the Anglican Church said that the policy of sending people seeking asylum to Africa “dishonors the UK.” The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, along with 23 other bishops, wrote a letter to The Times saying: “It is our shame because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion and justice, as we did on throughout the ages.” Religious leaders called for combating “trafficking” by providing safe routes for refugees trying to enter the UK, adding: “Deportation and potential forced return of asylum seekers to their countries is not an option.”

Earlier, the Prince of Wales joined the chorus of condemning the sending of migrants to Africa, describing the policies of the Conservatives as “terrible”. And human rights activists tried to challenge in the courts the decisions to deport migrants to Rwanda. True, two lawsuits against sending refugees were dismissed.

But the raised hype still partly had an effect – the first flight, as reported, was decided to send not hundreds or dozens of people, but only seven migrants (earlier 130 people were supposed to be deported to African soil). At the same time, according to available data, the cost of flying asylum seekers from Britain to Rwanda will fly into a considerable “penny” – half a million pounds.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who initiated the deal with Rwanda, drew on the experience of Australia, which has been successfully countering illegal migration for several years by simply turning boats with refugees and sending them to temporary detention centers outside its territory.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss brushes aside criticism of the “Rwandan scheme” and says: “The important thing is that we set the principle and start to break the business model of these terrible traffickers who profit from poverty.” As for the considerable cost of the “export flight” for migrants, the head of the Foreign Office did not specify the cost of the flight, but noted: “This is value for money.”

Remembering that the best defense is an attack, Liz Truss not only rejected criticism from the Anglican bishops and declared that the Rwandan scheme was “completely legal” and “completely moral”, but the head of the Foreign Ministry called on her opponents to propose an alternative that would be “effective and really work.”

The British government insists it is trying to keep people from the dangerous journey across the English Channel from France in flimsy little boats driven by smugglers. As for Rwanda, they say that it is a safe country that will serve as an ideal refuge for refugees.

In Kigali, housing has been prepared for migrants – the three-star Desir Hotel, located almost in the very center of the Rwandan capital. The hotel has a swimming pool, tennis court, gym and even a golf course. Accommodation in a double room – and the rooms are equipped with a TV and Internet access – costs about 40-50 pounds. This hotel is designed to accommodate approximately 100 migrants. Those who cannot fit in Desir will have to live in a more modest guest house – however, even here the rooms are equipped with private bathrooms.

The heated debate over the expulsion of migrants to Rwanda was reflected in the latest opinion polls: 44 percent of respondents of the British supported this measure, while 40% of respondents were against it.


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