According to Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister, the deal under the title Operation Red Meat between London and Kigali was “uncapped” and could potentially see “tens of thousands” sent there.
Under this contentious new agreement, the United Kingdom would transfer asylum seekers to Rwanda.
Boris Johnson claims the 120-million-pound ($156m) scheme will “save countless lives” from human trafficking.
“From today … anyone entering the UK illegally as well as those who have arrived illegally since January 1 may now be relocated to Rwanda,” Johnson said in a speech on Thursday morning near Dover, in southeastern England, where thousands of refugees and migrants landed on beaches after crossing the English Channel in small boats last.
In the meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel, who traveled to Rwanda’s capital on Thursday to sign the agreement, called it a “global first” that will “change the way we collectively tackle illegal migration.”
Opposition lawmakers and refugee advocacy groups have cautioned that the idea is immoral, unrealistic, and unduly costly.
They’ve also expressed concern about Rwanda’s record on human rights.
Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, slammed the move, calling it “a desperate announcement by a prime minister who just wants to distract from his own law breaking” – a nod to the renewed pressure Johnson is under after being fined by police in June 2020 for breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules.
Starmer added, “they reflect a prime minister who has got no grip, no answers to the questions that need answering and no shame, and I think Britain deserves better than this.”
Vincent Biruta, Rwandan Foreign Minister, hailed the agreement with London, saying it will provide “asylum seekers and migrants … legal pathways to residence” in the nation.