The United Kingdom’s Rwanda asylum policy has been in the global spotlight since it was signed in April this year.
The U.K government introduced this policy under the “economic development partnership”. Through this, the asylum seekers will be flown 6,500 km away to Rwanda, which will handle the processing of their asylum claims.
This deal was introduced mainly as a measure to prevent the loss of life that happened because of the dangerous crossings. This policy will be introduced as a pilot for 5 years.
The UK has made an upfront payment of £120 million to Rwanda to cover the cost of housing and integration of the asylum seekers till their applications are processed.
In the wake of the migrant crisis of 2015, more than one million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe. There was a divide between how different European Union countries responded. Some welcomed the migrants, while some made their immigration policies stricter.
In 2016, when Britain decided to withdraw from the European Union, one of its most important themes of the campaign was taking control of immigration. And after Brexit, the U.K introduced a policy that gave entry to those who wanted to work in the U.K. through a points-based system.
In 2021, over 28,000 people entered in boats, compared to 8,500 people in 2020. They seek the help of human smugglers and illegal traffickers.
But the migrants will be given refugee status only based on the strength of their asylum claim. Those rejected would have to leave the country within 5 days.
On June 15, the first flight that was set to carry the asylum seekers to Rwanda was cancelled at the last minute.
This was after the European Court of Human Rights ruled against it as some of the immigrants didn’t have the guarantee of a legal future in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s own human rights record is another reason why this policy faces flak.
In the past other countries like Australia, Israel, and Denmark have also established such policies. They were also deemed cruel and were opposed heavily.
Reports say that the legality of the U.K-Rwanda asylum policy will be tested in a full court hearing next month.