Ukrainians welcome, the rest to Rwanda. It’s a somewhat brutal summary, but not far from reality. On April 14, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his new policy to combat illegal immigration, which provides for the sending to the Central African country of all illegal immigrants who try to cross the Channel.
It is not a question of delocalizing the administrative filtering of asylum seekers, as other countries do. The London plan calls for sending these people fleeing war or misery to a country where they should rebuild their lives. According to Johnson, the proceeding would involve tens of thousands of people. In 2021, the British authorities identified 26 thousand without documents.
The London government announcement is built like advertising flyers selling a dream: “People whose application is accepted by Rwanda will be helped to build a new life in one of the fastest growing economies in the world, recognized worldwide. for its successes in the field of reception and integration of migrants “.
Support and surprise
On April 14, British Interior Minister Priti Patel signed an agreement with the government of Rwanda, which remained secret. At the moment we only know that the African country will initially receive 145 million euros.
In the UK, reactions are stunned. The associations that work to help refugees speak of “moral failure” and “barbarism”, while the opposition has harshly criticized the project. However, a poll indicates that a majority of conservative voters approve of the initiative, and this is the only thing that matters to Johnson, struggling after the “partygate” scandal of his illegal evenings at the time of the lockdown. Overall, however, the British against it are more numerous than those in favor: 42 per cent versus 35 per cent.
The British government hopes that the announcement will convince people preparing to leave the French coast to give up, but no refugees and no one who works with migrants really believes in it: those who have lived through hell will certainly not be discouraged by the risk. to be intercepted and sent to Rwanda.
The initiative is not an absolute novelty. We remember well the sad case of the migrant detention camp created by Australia in Papua New Guinea, which closed last year. In 2013 Israel signed a secret agreement with Uganda and Rwanda for the reception of Sudanese and Eritrean refugees that the Israelis did not want to deal with. Several NGO reports have shown that in that case the promises were never kept, and on the contrary human rights were violated.
Is the British plan really realistic? For sure it will collide with a series of legal processes already announced. But in any case, the announcement is above all political: Johnson needs to prove that he is doing something, especially after the failure of the negotiations with France and the European Union.
The sad irony of the agreement signed on April 14 in Kigali is that Minister Patel’s grandfather was originally from Gujarat, India, from where he emigrated to Uganda and then to the United Kingdom, where Patel was born. Today the minister is in charge of closing the country’s door of brexit to refugees, with the exception of those who come from Ukraine. It is a political error that the countries of the south will not fail to interpret correctly.
(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)