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The British Parliament has approved the government's plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda

The British Parliament has approved the government's plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during a press conference in Downing Street in London, Britain, April 22, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool

A controversial bill presented by the British government Expulsion of regular immigrants to Rwanda It was approved on Monday around midnight in Parliament after a Marathon pulse between the two legislative chambers.

first Minister Rishi Sunak His conservative party was pushing for the adoption of this text It will force judges to deem the East African country safe For expelled immigrants.

It will also give the authorities responsible for deciding asylum applications the authority to do so Ignoring sections of international humanitarian law The British avoided the decision Supreme Court of Justice Who deemed the project illegal.

The plan, launched by the previous government in May 2022 Boris Johnsonfaced a Strong opposition in the House of LordsIt is an advisory body responsible for studying laws passed in the House of Commons.

Members The Senate criticized the bill as insufficient They returned the text with amendments to the House of Representatives several times.

Their Lordships asked, for example, that A An independent monitor to determine whether Rwanda is truly a safe country Or they requested exemption from deportation for people who worked with the British Army abroad, such as Afghan translators.

A demonstrator holds a sign as he demonstrates outside the Supreme Court against the government's policy of deporting illegal immigrants to Rwanda. (Reuters/Peter Nicholls/archive photo)

But no Members of the House of CommonsWhere the Conservatives have a majority, They rejected all amendments He referred the original text to the other chamber in a process known as parliamentary ping-pong.

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Finally, the House of Lords, whose members are not elected, relented and announced shortly before midnight that they would not introduce any further amendments, meaning the law would be finalized once it received royal assent.

Sunak's government is under pressure to reduce the record number of asylum seekers Crossing the English Channel in small boats from northern France.

Sunak's government is under pressure to reduce the record number of asylum seekers crossing the English Channel in small boats from northern France. (Reuters/Pascal Rossignol/Archive)

Hours before the project cleared the last parliamentary hurdle, the Conservative leader had announced this The plan was to be implemented “no matter what.”

“They will go no matter what.”said Sunak, who has made combating illegal immigration one of his priorities ahead of this year's British legislative elections.

the Flights to the African country will begin within “ten or twelve weeks.”He confirmed this in a press conference aimed at presenting the means used by the government to organize these expulsions.

the National Audit OfficeL, the Public Expenditure Oversight Authority, estimates Which will cost about 540 million pounds (About $665 million) Deportation of the first 300 immigrants.

This migration plan Rwanda It has faced numerous legal challenges since then Offer in 2022.

this year, The first expellees were taken off the plane at the last minute After intervention from European Court of Human Rights. Since then, no migrants have been sent there.

Project that may still be subject to New legal resources It has been strongly criticized by the Labor opposition, migrant aid societies, the Anglican Church and the United Nations.

Rishi Sunak and Rwandan President Paul Kagame (Alberto Pizzalli/Reuters/File)

Its Austrian High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker TurkAnd he said he was going “Against the basic principles of human rights”.

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UN experts have suggested that airlines and aviation regulators may be “complicit” in human rights violations They enjoy international protection if they participate in migrant expulsion flights.

Rwanda, with a population of 13 million, claims to be one of the most stable countries in Africa. But human rights groups accuse the president Paul Kagame To rule on a Climate of fear And based on Suppression of opposition And freedom of expression.

More than 120 thousand people crossed the English Channel In primitive boats Since 2018When the government began counting the number of illegal immigrants arriving via this route.

Sunak is confident about this policy 'Slowing down the boats' deters migrants Electorally, he strengthens his Conservative Party, which is at a clear disadvantage compared to the Labor Party after fourteen years in power.

the elections It must be held before the end of January 2025, however Sunak said it would be held in 2024 On a date not yet announced.

(Information from Agence France-Presse)