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How will the new Rwanda migrant scheme work? 

Cross-channel arrivals assessed and anyone deemed an economic migrant rather than a refugee is sent to Rwanda

  • Plan is limited to male migrants only 
  • Initial agreement worth £120million over five years  
  • Failed immigrants urged to start new life in Africa 
  • Initially based at hostel in Kigali
  • Hope House is currently being used as budget accommodation for tourists
  • Privately owned, the East African nation’s government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property  
  • Royal Navy to take over Channel policing role from Border Force from today
  • PM attacked ‘a formidable army of politically motivated lawyers’ who have thwarted previous action
  • PM: ‘Our compassion may be infinite but our capacity to help people is not. We can’t ask the British taxpayer to write a blank cheque to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here.’ 
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Boris Johnson ordered the Royal Navy to police the English Channel and stop small boats from today as he faced a backlash over a plan to give migrants a one-way ticket to Africa.

The Prime Minister ordered warships to take over from the Border Force as the latest wave of arrivals from France were pictured landing in Kent.

Speaking just a few miles away he hailed the UK as a ‘beacon of openness’ before confirming an agreement with Rwanda to send boat people 4,000 miles to the east African nation – in many cases permanently.

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveiled the £120million scheme, saying: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders.’

He said that while the UK’s compassion may be ‘endless’, its capacity to host people was not, adding: ‘We cannot expect the UK taxpayer to write a black cheque.’

Ministers have struck a ‘world-first’ deal with the government of Paul Kigame to host economic migrants. Home Secretary Priti Patel arrived in Rwandan capital Kigali last night and is due to sign a five-year agreement today.   

Officials believe the agreement to ‘off-shore’ the processing of asylum seekers will deter thousands of migrants from crossing the Channel in dinghies, saving lives and cutting off income from the criminal gangs that control the trade. 

But the plan has already faced a massive backlash, with claims that it is both cruel and expensive. Rwanda is best known in the west for a 1994 ethnic genocide that left up to 800,000 Tutsi people dead and it still has a mixed human rights records.

Amnesty International says there are still concerns over ‘enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force’. Earlier this month the Refugee Minister Lord Harrington said there was ‘no possibility’ of migrants being sent there.

But Mr Johnson today branded it ‘dynamic’ and one of the safest countries in the world. And answering questions in Kigali, Ms Patel said the country had an ‘established record of welcoming and integrating people’.

Speaking at a press conference she said the African country had ‘one of the strongest records for refugee resettlement’ and, in recent years, had resettled more than 130,000 refugees. 

It is understood Channel migrants will be processed in the UK and officials will decide whether they are a genuine asylum seeker. If they are deemed to be economic migrants, they will be sent to Rwanda, where schemes will be put in place to help them build a new life. 

It is thought that in other cases, all asylum processing will take place after the claimant arrives in Rwanda. Britain will pay the costs of their resettlement.

A source told the Telegraph that the British Army would be involved to prevent ‘battles on the quayside’, adding: ‘They will drive you to the airport and send you straight to Rwanda’.  

The Refugee Council charity was among those to urge an immediate rethink of the plan, with chief executive Enver Solomon saying it would not work and would cost the taxpayer around £1.4billion a year as part of the while asylum system.

The United Nations refugee agency also expressed concern over the ‘shifting rather than the sharing of responsibilities’. 

Labour and Mr Johnson’s Tory critics claimed it was an expensive move to switch attention away from the Partygate row which continues to embarrass No10, although Mr Patel said the plans had been in the pipeline ‘for months’.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer branded the PM ‘desperate’ and said the plans were ‘unworkable, extortionate and will cost the taxpayer billions of pounds’. 

Conservative former minister Andrew Mitchell said housing asylum seekers at the Ritz hotel would be cheaper than offshoring, claiming the cost to the British taxpayer would be £2million per person, per year. 

And former defence minister Tobias Ellwood told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘He’s trying to make an announcement today on migration, and all of this is a massive distraction (from Partygate). It’s not going away.’ 

The Prime Minister ordered warships to take over from the Border Force as the latest wave of arrivals from France were pictured landing in Kent.

The Prime Minister ordered warships to take over from the Border Force as the latest wave of arrivals from France were pictured landing in Kent.

The Prime Minister ordered warships to take over from the Border Force as the latest wave of arrivals from France were pictured landing in Kent.

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveiled the £120million scheme , saying: 'The British people voted several times to control our borders.'

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveiled the £120million scheme , saying: 'The British people voted several times to control our borders.'

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveiled the £120million scheme , saying: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders.’

Speaking in Kent he said that while the UK's compassion may be 'endless', its capacity to host people was not, adding: 'We cannot expect the UK taxpayer to write a black cheque.'

Speaking in Kent he said that while the UK's compassion may be 'endless', its capacity to host people was not, adding: 'We cannot expect the UK taxpayer to write a black cheque.'

Speaking in Kent he said that while the UK’s compassion may be ‘endless’, its capacity to host people was not, adding: ‘We cannot expect the UK taxpayer to write a black cheque.’

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister will invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveils a £120million scheme to send men who cross from France in small boats to East Africa, saying: 'The British people voted several times to control our borders.'

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister will invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveils a £120million scheme to send men who cross from France in small boats to East Africa, saying: 'The British people voted several times to control our borders.'

In a speech this morning the Prime Minister will invoked the spirit of Brexit as he unveils a £120million scheme to send men who cross from France in small boats to East Africa, saying: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders.’

Government sources admitted the scheme – which has been two years in the planning – will ‘face challenges’.

Government sources admitted the scheme – which has been two years in the planning – will ‘face challenges’.

Government sources admitted the scheme – which has been two years in the planning – will ‘face challenges’.

Answering questions in Kigali, Ms Patel said the country had an 'established record of welcoming and integrating people'.

Answering questions in Kigali, Ms Patel said the country had an 'established record of welcoming and integrating people'.

Answering questions in Kigali, Ms Patel said the country had an ‘established record of welcoming and integrating people’.

Welcome to Rwanda: Regime in genocide-haunted country accused of murder, kidnapping and torture

Rwanda is a landlocked country in central and eastern Africa best known in the west for the horrific 1994 ethnic genocide. 

In just 100 days of a brutal civil war, up to 800,000 Tutsi people were murdered, with many of them hacked to death in their homes by armed militias of the Hutu majority.

Up to half a million women were raped as violence gripped the country, often with neighbours turning on neighbours. 

The carnage provoked horror and condemnation around the world, and the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front later won the war and forced those responsible for the murder into exile.

But while the country is more stable today, it still has a highly questionable human rights record.

Earlier this week the US State Department produced its annual analysis of the country.

It reported ‘significant human rights issues’ with the Government, including:

  • unlawful or arbitrary killings
  • forced disappearance 
  • torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment 
  • harsh and life-threatening prison conditions
  • arbitrary detention
  • political prisoners or detainees
  •  arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy 

It added: ‘The government took some steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses and acts of corruption, including within the security services, but impunity involving civilian officials and some members of the state security forces was a problem.’

In a separate report, Amnesty International reports similar findings.

While noting the Kagame government had acted to help women prosecuted for having abortions, and to prosecute those accused of genocide, it added: ‘Violations of the rights to a fair trial, freedom of expression and privacy continued, alongside enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force.’

 

 

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Mr Johnson criticised the ‘rank unfairness’ of the current asylum system, which he claimed is being exploited by men entering via small boat crossings at the expense of women and children.

Speaking at Lydd Airport near Dungeness, the Prime Minister said: ‘Our compassion may be infinite but our capacity to help people is not. We can’t ask the British taxpayer to write a blank cheque to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here.

‘Uncontrolled immigration creates unmanageable demands on our NHS and on our welfare state, it overstretches our local schools, our housing and public transport and creates unsustainable pressure to build on precious green spaces.

‘Nor is it fair on those who are seeking to come here legally if others can bypass the system. It’s a striking fact that around seven out of 10 of those arriving in small boats last year were men under 40 paying people smugglers to queue jump and taking up our capacity to help genuine women and child refugees.

‘This is particularly perverse as those attempting crossings are not directly fleeing imminent peril, as is the intended purpose of the asylum system. They pass through manifestly safe countries including many in Europe where they could and should claim asylum.

‘It’s this rank unfairness of a system that can be exploited by gangs which risks eroding public support for the whole concept of asylum.’

Asked if he could guarantee that under his premiership there will be no more small boats attempting to cross the Channel, the Prime Minister said: ‘Can I guarantee that we’re going to get rid of the small boats problem? No, obviously not.

‘But I think that what we can hope to do is to demolish the business model and greatly to deter those who come here. But to say that we’re going to get down to zero any time soon is unlikely.

‘What we’re proposing today is, I think, certainly a radical plan, but it will take a while to come fully and properly into effect.’

Ms Patel insisted the UK’s new deal with Rwanda ‘fully complies with all international and national law’ and said it would ‘deal a major blow to the evil people smugglers’. 

Her plan is designed to deter economic migrants by showing that even if they reach British shores, they will not be allowed to remain here. 

If the scheme works as expected, thousands of asylum seekers will end up further away from Britain than where they started. 

It will also undermine the business models of callous people traffickers, who have been driving migrants to sea in increasingly unsafe conditions.

Other aspects of the plan are thought to include a new reception centre for asylum seekers in North Yorkshire, the Ministry of Defence being put in charge of policing the Channel and legal reforms to prevent failed asylum seekers mounting repeated appeals. 

Mr Johnson added: ‘The British people voted several times to control our borders – not to close them, but to control them. 

‘So just as Brexit allowed us to take back control of legal immigration by replacing free movement with our points-based system, we are also taking back control of illegal immigration with a long-term plan for asylum in this country. 

‘It is a plan that will ensure the UK has a world-leading asylum offer, providing generous protection to those directly fleeing the worst of humanity, by settling thousands of people every year through safe and legal routes.’  

Although the precise details of how the scheme will operate are unclear, the first key points emerged, including:

  • A new reception centre for asylum seekers at a former RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, which will house hundreds of migrants – unlike existing detention centres, the occupants will be free to come and go;
  • Councils are likely to be given more funding to house asylum seekers in more parts of the country;  
  • The Ministry of Defence will be put in charge of the Channel, pitting the Royal Navy against people smugglers; 
  • Legal reforms will ensure asylum seekers who see their claims rejected cannot make repeated appeals in the courts;  
  • The Rwanda element of the plan will involve an £120million initial cost, but ministers argue this is a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared to the £4.7million-a-day costs of the current arrangements. 

Government sources admitted the scheme – which has been two years in the planning – will ‘face challenges’.

One refugee charity last night condemned the plans as ‘cruel and nasty’, while Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said the Rwanda processing proposal was ‘desperate and shameful’. 

But ministers are ‘very confident’ they have a solid case and that it is not fair that economic migrants have been ‘jumping the queue’ at the expense of refugees fleeing genuine persecution. 

Migrants travelling to the UK on small boats will be put on jets and sent to Rwanda while their applications are processed

Migrants travelling to the UK on small boats will be put on jets and sent to Rwanda while their applications are processed

Migrants travelling to the UK on small boats will be put on jets and sent to Rwanda while their applications are processed

It is understood Channel migrants will be processed in the UK and officials will decide whether they are a genuine asylum seeker.

It is understood Channel migrants will be processed in the UK and officials will decide whether they are a genuine asylum seeker.

It is understood Channel migrants will be processed in the UK and officials will decide whether they are a genuine asylum seeker.

Mr Solomon told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I think it’s rather extraordinary that the Government is obsessing with control instead of focusing on competence and compassion, creating the asylum system.

‘We stick to the principles that every prime minister since Winston Churchill has always stuck to, that you grant people a fair hearing on UK soil.

‘There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do that today because that is the principle that the UN Convention, which we were one of the founding signatories of, enshrines.

‘This proposal that Government is putting forward just simply isn’t going to work.’

Mr Solomon said the Government should look at solutions that offer migrants the opportunity to apply for asylum in the UK while they are in northern France, creating safer routes of seeking asylum and addressing the reasons why people make dangerous crossings.

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has called the Government’s plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda ‘a cynical distraction from the Prime Minister’s law breaking’.

He tweeted: ‘The UK Government’s plans to send asylum seekers and refugees to Rwanda is cruel and inhumane.

‘This is not the way to treat people seeking safety and sanctuary.

‘This is nothing more than a cynical distraction from the Prime Minister’s law breaking.’

Explaining how the Government’s plan for Rwanda to process asylum seekers will ‘break up’ the business model for criminal gangs, Mr Hart told LBC radio: ‘Priti Patel and the PM are going to spell out the detail of this later on today.

‘But if they (the criminal gangs) think that the potential lucrative returns that they have been relying on so far are going to be in jeopardy because we have the Ministry of Defence helping out in the Channel and we have an arrangement with the Rwandan government for the proper and humane treatment of these people, then the criminal gangs will realise that their potential source of income will dry up.

‘That’s the plan, per se. The devil is in the details, it always is. But we simply can’t just sit back and continue to watch 28,000 people using… or attempting to cross.’

The Wales Secretary added: ‘What we are proposing with the government of Rwanda is to improve the chances to break up the criminal gangs, to reduce the horrible level of exploitation and to improve the chances for people who have crossed half the world at huge emotional and personal and financial expense.

‘At the moment, they are being put in dreadful danger by these ruthless people, and so I think what we are doing is really consistent with our reputation.

‘We pride ourselves on this ‘nation of sanctuary’ label and I hope that this, when it’s up and running, will be able to reinforce that reputation.’

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart told broadcasters this morning the scheme could be a 'really humane step forward'.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart told broadcasters this morning the scheme could be a 'really humane step forward'.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart told broadcasters this morning the scheme could be a ‘really humane step forward’.

Inside tourist hotel in Rwanda that will host Channel migrants flown 4,000 miles from the UK for up to three months in Australia-style plan to send them to country in desperate need of young men

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see people taken to a hostel in the capital city for processing.

Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of Kigali, is currently being used as accommodation for tourists, according to Rwandan government officials.

Privately owned, the East African nation’s government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed. It is understood this could take up to three months.

Home Secretary Priti Patel made a private visit to the site today to see an example of what accommodation may be on offer.

A view of facilities at Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of the capital city Kigali, in Rwanda

A view of facilities at Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of the capital city Kigali, in Rwanda

A view of facilities at Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of the capital city Kigali, in Rwanda

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see them taken to the former tourist hostel

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see them taken to the former tourist hostel

Plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda from the UK are anticipated to initially see them taken to the former tourist hostel 

This is understood to be Ms Patel’s first visit to Rwanda since the deal was thrashed out, after being briefed by Home Office and Foreign Office officials who have been researching the plan.

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms.

But there are plans to expand the facility by building more accommodation blocks, eventually seeing it offer 150 rooms and be able to sleep up to 300 people.

Asylum seekers are expected to be provided meals three times a day to eat in a communal dining room, with some kitchen facilities also available for those with special dietary requirements.

The government’s plan has already faced a massive backlash, with claims that it is both cruel and expensive.

Dr Peter William Walsh, Senior Researcher at the Migration Observatory in Oxford, said it would face ‘all kinds of logistical challenges’.

He told MailOnline: ‘Australia’s offshore experiment was beset by all kinds of problems, with people unable to access healthcare, as well as high rates of suicide and abuse. Then there’s the financial side to it. 

‘The Australian system was thought to be 800 times more expensive to house them offshore than in local centres. It cost one billion Australian dollars (£567m) to house fewer than 300 people.

‘There are so many questions about this plan and a lot of scepticism about whether it will actually come to pass given all the challenges it will face.’ 

Rwanda is best known in the west for a 1994 ethnic genocide that left up to 800,000 Tutsi people dead and it still has a mixed human rights records.

Amnesty International says there are still concerns over ‘enforced disappearances, allegations of torture and excessive use of force’.

Earlier this month the Refugee Minister Lord Harrington said there was ‘no possibility’ of migrants being sent there. But Boris Johnson today branded it ‘dynamic’ and one of the safest countries in the world. 

Privately owned, the East African nation's government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed

Privately owned, the East African nation's government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed

Privately owned, the East African nation’s government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property so asylum seekers sent from the UK can stay there temporarily while their claims are processed

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms

The complex has 50 rooms at present and can accommodate around 100 people with up to two people per room and sharing communal bathrooms

It is understood Channel migrants will be processed in the UK and officials will decide whether they are a genuine asylum seeker.

If they are deemed to be economic migrants, they will be sent to Rwanda, where schemes will be put in place to help them build a new life.

It is thought that in other cases, all asylum processing will take place after the claimant arrives in Rwanda. Britain will pay the costs of their resettlement. 

A source told the Telegraph that the British Army would be involved to prevent ‘battles on the quayside’, adding: ‘They will drive you to the airport and send you straight to Rwanda’.

The Refugee Council charity was among those to urge an immediate rethink of the plan, with chief executive Enver Solomon saying it would not work and would cost the taxpayer around £1.4billion a year as part of the while asylum system.

The United Nations refugee agency also expressed concern over the ‘shifting rather than the sharing of responsibilities’.

Labour and Mr Johnson’s Tory critics claimed it was an expensive move to switch attention away from the Partygate row which continues to embarrass No10. 

At a press conference today, Priti Patel said the agreement with Rwanda ‘fully complies with all international and national law’.

She said the deal is ‘in keeping with our vision for global Britain that harnesses the potential for new relationships, and stimulates investments and jobs in partner countries’.

Home Secretary added: ‘Working together, the United Kingdom and Rwanda will help make the immigration system fairer, ensure that people are safe and enjoy new opportunities to flourish.’

She said people who enter the UK ‘illegally will be considered for relocation’ to have their claims decided, adding: ‘Those who are resettled will be given the support, including up to five years of training with the help of integration, accommodation, healthcare, so that they can resettle and thrive.’

She added that the UK is making a ‘substantial investment in the economic development of Rwanda’ which aims to develop the country’s economy and support its people. 

‘This is very much, number one, a partnership,’ she said. ‘Clearly we engage in dialogue and we have been for over nine months now.

‘But Rwanda has a very unique history in terms of refugees and resettlement, resettlement in particular. First and foremost, Rwanda is a safe and secure country with the respect for the rule of law, and clearly a range of institutions that have evolved and developed over time.

‘If I may say so, Rwanda has been very forward leaning, and has been very dynamic in the conversations that we have had as well around, yes, economic growth and the partnership, but respect for people and giving them the ability to find new opportunities, but effectively restart their lives, rebuild careers, potentially, and settle here successfully.’ 

Priti to face down migrant backlash: She’s braced for legal challenge from human rights lawyers and Left over new Rwanda deal

By David Barrett, Home Affairs Correspondent in Kigali, Rwanda 

Ministers are determined to face down what is likely to be a fierce backlash over the plans to tackle the issue of cross-Channel migration. 

Sources said Home Secretary Priti Patel has been ‘working night and day’ for the last eight months on the agreement with Rwanda, announced tomorrow. 

It will see asylum seekers sent to the East African nation for processing or, in some cases, if they are ruled to be economic migrants rather than genuine refugees. 

In short, it is designed to have a deterrent effect, and to stop migrants from attempting to enter the UK in the first place.

The Rwanda deal comes after a number of other locations for offshore processing were said to be under consideration by the Home Office. 

Sources said Home Secretary Priti Patel has been ‘working night and day’ for the last eight months on the agreement with Rwanda, announced tomorrow.

Sources said Home Secretary Priti Patel has been ‘working night and day’ for the last eight months on the agreement with Rwanda, announced tomorrow.

Sources said Home Secretary Priti Patel has been ‘working night and day’ for the last eight months on the agreement with Rwanda, announced tomorrow.

Ghana and Albania were mooted, along with disused North Sea oil platforms and decommissioned ferries off the UK coast. Ascension Island, part of a UK overseas territory almost 4,500 miles away in the South Atlantic, was also suggested last month. 

Offshoring asylum seekers will be highly controversial, and even Tory backbenchers have questioned the expense. 

Last month Conservative former minister Andrew Mitchell said housing asylum seekers at the Ritz hotel would be cheaper than offshoring, claiming the cost to the British taxpayer would be £2million per person, per year. 

Ministers are also braced for a legal challenge from human rights lawyers – as well as political opposition from Labour and the Left. 

Flows of migrants across the Channel have seemed an insoluble challenge since numbers began to rise four years ago. 

Last year a record 28,500 migrants reached British shores aboard dinghies and small boats, with trends appearing to rise yet further so far this year. Ministers will now attempt a different approach – with a complex international agreement that has taken two years to secure. 

Last year a record 28,500 migrants reached British shores aboard dinghies and small boats, with trends appearing to rise yet further so far this year

Last year a record 28,500 migrants reached British shores aboard dinghies and small boats, with trends appearing to rise yet further so far this year

Last year a record 28,500 migrants reached British shores aboard dinghies and small boats, with trends appearing to rise yet further so far this year

In a speech tomorrow, Boris Johnson will defend the new plan, saying that the Government has to control illegal immigration. 

‘We cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not,’ he will say. 

‘The British people voted several times to control our borders, not to close them, but to control them. 

‘So just as Brexit allowed us to take back control of legal immigration by replacing free movement with our points-based system, we are also taking back control of illegal immigration, with a long-term plan for asylum in this country.’ 

The Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill will grant the Home Secretary new legal powers to process asylum seekers overseas. 

The Bill is yet to complete its final stages in Parliament, and earlier this year the House of Lords voted to remove the offshoring powers, only for them to be later re-instated by a Commons vote. 

‘We cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not,’ the Prime Minister is expected to say

‘We cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not,’ the Prime Minister is expected to say

‘We cannot sustain a parallel illegal system. Our compassion may be infinite, but our capacity to help people is not,’ the Prime Minister is expected to say

A group of people thought to be migrants are are guided up the beach after being brought in to Dungeness, Kent, on March 24

A group of people thought to be migrants are are guided up the beach after being brought in to Dungeness, Kent, on March 24

A group of people thought to be migrants are are guided up the beach after being brought in to Dungeness, Kent, on March 24

Tonight, the initial reaction from charities suggested they would bitterly oppose the plans. 

Enver Solomon, of the Refugee Council, said: ‘We are appalled by the Government’s cruel and nasty decision to send those seeking sanctuary in our country to Rwanda. 

‘Offshoring the UK’s asylum system will do absolutely nothing to address the reasons why people take perilous journeys to find safety in the UK. 

‘It will do little to deter them from coming to this country, but only lead to more human suffering and chaos.’ 

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, said the ‘shockingly ill-conceived idea will go far further in inflicting suffering while wasting huge amounts of public money’. 

Rwanda, with a population of 13million, needs more workers and has in recent years resettled more than 100,000 refugees. In a different approach, the European Union is developing a network of accommodation centre for asylum seekers on a number of Greek islands. 

The first £37million facility, on Samos, opened in September and can house 3,000 people in rows of container-style accommodation units. 

Elsewhere, Home Office officials have closely studied a similar scheme for offshore processing which is being set up by Denmark. 

Danish parliamentarians have approved a change to their law which would allow asylum applications to be considered in a third country. Last year there were reports that it was looking at signing an agreement with the Rwandan government.

Centre where asylum seekers ‘come and go’

A major aspect of the wider immigration plan is thought to include the construction of a reception centre for asylum seekers in North Yorkshire. 

The centre would be at a former RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse, near York, and could house hundreds of migrants. 

Aerial view of RAF Linton-On-Ouse, air force base near York, North Yorkshire

Aerial view of RAF Linton-On-Ouse, air force base near York, North Yorkshire

Aerial view of RAF Linton-On-Ouse, air force base near York, North Yorkshire

Unlike existing immigration detection centres, it is understood the occupants will be free to come and go while they await a decision on their case. 

Officials hope such accommodation centres will be far more cost effective than placing migrants in hotels, which currently costs the taxpayer £4.7million a day. 

Councils are also likely to be given more funding to house asylum seekers in more parts of the country. Previously, the Home Office has faced criticism over the use of a military barracks in Kent to house asylum seekers. 

A High Court judge ruled that Napier Barracks, where 200 residents caught coronavirus and seven attempted suicide, provided inadequate accommodation. The Home Office says it has since been improved

UK migrant support is world class, say ministers

Britain’s programme of help to migrants in need is among the most generous in the world, ministers have said. 

In the wake of the Syrian migrant crisis in 2015, driven by Islamic State’s terror, the UK accepted 20,000 migrants over five years. 

Last year’s Taliban takeover of Afghanistan led to a similar project to help people fleeing their country. 

A migrant carrying a small child, picked up at sea attempting to cross the English Channel, are escorted ashore from RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat at Dungeness, Kent, on March 15

A migrant carrying a small child, picked up at sea attempting to cross the English Channel, are escorted ashore from RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat at Dungeness, Kent, on March 15

A migrant carrying a small child, picked up at sea attempting to cross the English Channel, are escorted ashore from RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat at Dungeness, Kent, on March 15

Britain evacuated thousands of Afghans who had worked for the UK under the former government, and in January this year ministers committed to taking a further 20,000 Afghans in the coming years.

The UK Government also responded to deepening fears over erosion of human rights in Hong Kong by Beijing’s Communist government. 

It created a special route for Hong Kongers to gain a version of a British passport which would allow them to flee the former British colony and come to the UK. 

So far 90,000 have already been awarded the so-called British National (Overseas) passport. 

And, most recently, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed there will be no cap on the number of Ukrainians able to flee Russia’s brutal war and come to Britain. 

However, the roll-out of the Ukraine visa schemes have been dogged by controversy and delays both for Ukrainian families and potential hosts in the UK. 

Latest figures published last week showed 12,500 Ukrainians had arrived in Britain – and tens of thousands more visas had been handed out. 

The total is expected to rise sharply, however, with officials predicting that up to 200,000 Ukrainians could ultimately come to the UK. All these schemes are part of the Government’s strategy to increase the number of ‘safe routes’ to Britain for those most in need. 

As a counterbalance, new legislation will make it more difficult for economic migrants to exploit the asylum system, which ministers have described as ‘jumping the queue’. 

The Nationality and Borders Bill will create a two-tier system for asylum claims depending on whether migrants came through approved routes, or by ‘irregular entry’ such as in boats or the backs of lorries. It will also toughen penalties for people smugglers.

Luxury life of ‘despot’ blamed for rights abuses

By Tom Witherow for the Daily Mail

The president of Rwanda has won plaudits from former prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron despite being branded a ‘despot’ and blamed for human rights abuses. 

Paul Kagame, 64, has sold Rwanda as a success story in the developing world over three decades. 

He has courted foreign leaders and royalty – including a 2020 meeting with Prince William at Buckingham Palace – to win praise as a dynamic and progressive president. 

His government has also spent millions of pounds brushing up Rwanda’s image by sponsoring Premier League team Arsenal. 

But critics claim he is guilty of murderous authoritarianism which has enabled him to remain in power for 28 years.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and His Wife Jeannette

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and His Wife Jeannette

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and His Wife Jeannette

He led the militia groups who ended the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which saw more than 500,000 people massacred. 

Then US President Bill Clinton said Kagame was ‘one of the greatest leaders of our time’, Lord Blair called him a ‘visionary’, and Mr Cameron said his regime was a ‘role model for development’. 

But in recent years negative stories have over-shadowed his country’s economic success. 

Last December, Paul Rusesabagina – the inspiration for the hero character in Hollywood film Hotel Rwanda – was sentenced to 25 years in prison for allegedly founding a terrorist group. 

Rwanda president Paul Kagame with Arsenal legend Tony Adams in 2014

Rwanda president Paul Kagame with Arsenal legend Tony Adams in 2014

Rwanda president Paul Kagame with Arsenal legend Tony Adams in 2014

His family branded it a show trial. The former hotel boss-turned-opposition leader had been praised for shielding thousands of potential genocide victims in 1994. 

But he criticised Rwanda’s human rights abuses after Kagame came to power. 

Kagame’s intelligence services have also been suspected of killing critics abroad, but none of the allegations has been proven. 

When arch-critic Colonel Patrick Karegeya was murdered in a hotel in South Africa in 2014, Kagame said: ‘When you choose to live like a dog, you die like a dog.’ 

A recent book claimed the Metropolitan Police provided protection for Rwandan opposition figures threatened in London. 

Kagame is known for his luxurious lifestyle and travels in a £50million executive jet and an armour-plated Range Rover worth an estimated £300,000. 

His son Ivan sits on the board of Rwanda’s investment agency and lives in a £5million Beverly Hills mansion.

Source: Daily Mail

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