The UK Rwanda Asylum Plan

What is the News?

The United Kingdom has signed a deal with Rwanda to send illegal asylum seekers coming to the UK to Rwanda.

What is the UK-Rwanda Asylum Deal?

Aim: To deter illegal entry into the United Kingdom thereby breaking the business model of people-smuggling networks.

Under the deal, Rwanda will commit to taking in asylum seekers who arrive in the U.K on or after January 1, 2022, using illegally facilitated and unlawful cross border migration.

Rwanda will basically function as the holding centre where asylum applicants will wait while the Rwandan government makes decisions about their asylum and resettlement petitions in Rwanda.

The UK will bear all operational costs under the deal and provide a stipulated amount for each migrant.

Why was this deal needed?

According to the U.K. government, the deal was needed to combat people smugglers who often charge exorbitant prices from vulnerable migrants to put them on unseaworthy boats from France to England that often leading to mass drownings.

Will this Rwanda Deal solve the problem of illegal migration?

It remains unclear if the Rwanda Deal will solve the problem of unlawful crossings. But if we go by similar experiences from the past, such policies do not fully combat people smuggling. Instead, they create a parallel problem. 

For example, Australia had inked a similar off-shore processing deal with Papua New Guinea that was challenged through a class-action lawsuit.

In 2017, the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court ruled that the processing centre was illegal and unconstitutional and ordered that Australia pay 70 million Australian dollars as compensation to the 2,000 people detained at this centre. 

Source: This post is based on the article The UK Rwanda Asylum Plan published in The Hindu on 19th April 2022.

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