Suella Braverman plans to deport migrants to Rwanda by summer
Suella Braverman plans to deport migrants to Rwanda by the summer, while the Kigali government said it was “ready to take in the thousands who will come from Britain”.
A Home Office source said “we are certainly working to end flights before the summer,” adding that the Home Secretary acknowledged the timetable was dependent on pending litigation.
On her first trip to the Central African nation as Home Secretary, Ms Braverman on Saturday visited facilities being built to accommodate people who have been displaced from Britain.
Speaking to reporters in the country’s capital, she said she will wait for an appeals court hearing on the directive next month before deciding whether flights could start by the summer.
The government has expanded the agreement with Rwanda to include all those entering the UK illegally, as opposed to only asylum seekers.
The amendment to the agreement aims to ensure that illegal entrants are arrested under the Illegal Migration Act and quickly deported, regardless of the claim they make – whether it’s asylum, human rights, modern slavery or none.
So far, no migrants have been resettled in the country after the deal was signed by Ms Braverman’s predecessor Priti Patel last April, and several people from countries including Iran, Iraq and Syria have filed challenges to plans to send them there.
After touring potential housing facilities on Saturday, Ms Braverman said: “I think Rwanda is clearly ready.”
Migrants arriving from the UK would be accommodated in hostels and hotels for short-term before moving to long-term housing whose properties have gardens, off-street parking and fiber broadband capacity.
Asked whether the migration deal affects the UK’s ability to criticize the country on other issues such as human rights, Ms Braverman said there is a “gross misperception of Rwanda in the UK” and that it is a “forward-looking dynamic economy” and a safe country.
Rwanda’s government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo told reporters she doesn’t see life in Rwanda as a punishment – adding that the African nation signed the deal for “the right reasons”.
She said: “We will be ready to host the thousands who will come from the UK over the life of this partnership. We are determined to make this a success.”
The home secretary is set to meet President Paul Kagame to discuss the deal after meeting her Rwandan counterpart Vincent Biruta on Saturday.
Legal challenges to the government’s draft law are expected, and practical questions are piling up about where people can be sent if the only deals are with Albania and Rwanda.
Ms Braverman said the Home Office believes Rwanda has the capacity it needs, but “we are always in constructive dialogue with many nations around the world.”
In response to criticism, she replied: “Our system conforms to international law, it complies with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Refugee Convention.” But she repeated a threat to take Britain out of the ECHR if necessary.
The visit comes as it was confirmed that 209 people had crossed the Channel in small boats on Friday after five days of no crossings being reported.
Additional coverage by Press Association
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/rwanda-suella-braverman-asylum-seekers-migrants-b2303704.html Suella Braverman plans to deport migrants to Rwanda by summer