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UK Initiates Detention Of Asylum Seekers For Deportation To Rwanda

British authorities have initiated the detention of asylum seekers as part of a new program designed to deport them to Rwanda. The government announced that the first flights are scheduled to depart as soon as July, according to Al Jazeera. Home Secretary James Cleverly remarked, “Our dedicated enforcement teams are working at pace to swiftly […]

Asylum Seekers to be deported to Rwanda (rep. image)
Asylum Seekers to be deported to Rwanda (rep. image)

British authorities have initiated the detention of asylum seekers as part of a new program designed to deport them to Rwanda. The government announced that the first flights are scheduled to depart as soon as July, according to Al Jazeera.

Home Secretary James Cleverly remarked, “Our dedicated enforcement teams are working at pace to swiftly detain those who have no right to be here so we can get flights off the ground.”

The confirmation of detainment procedures comes after the recent implementation of legislation declaring Rwanda as a safe third country. This circumvents a previous ruling by the UK Supreme Court, which deemed the scheme unlawful on human rights grounds.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reiterated his commitment to reduce migrant arrivals via small boats from mainland Europe, emphasizing that detentions would swiftly precede deportation flights set to begin within “10 to 12 weeks.”

The UK’s Home Office described it as “another major milestone” in the Rwanda deportation plan. They shared visual documentation depicting immigration enforcement officers detaining individuals with handcuffs at different locations, Al Jazeera reported.

Reacting to the developments, the charity Freedom from Torture criticised the government’s actions, asserting, “This government has lost its last ounce of humanity.”

According to a senior minister, the government expects to deport 5,700 individuals this year, following Rwanda’s “in principle” agreement to accept that number. However, authorities have lost contact with thousands of potential deportees, with only 2,143 currently located for detention, leaving over 3,500 unaccounted for.

Ministerial assurances have been given that enforcement teams will track down these individuals, with commercial charter planes already booked and an airport on standby. With over 7,500 arrivals via small boats from France this year, the government argues that the policy will serve as a deterrent against the hazardous English Channel crossings.

Following the Supreme Court ruling issued last November, human rights organizations and unions opposed to the policy are preparing to launch new legal challenges to prevent the deportation flights. Natasha Tsangarides, associate director of advocacy at Freedom from Torture, emphasized the widespread fear among asylum seekers. She cautioned that the possibility of detention and deportation to Rwanda would prompt some individuals to go into hiding and cut ties with their support networks.

Rwanda, situated in Africa’s Great Lakes region and home to 13 million people, is praised for its stability and contemporary infrastructure. Nonetheless, rights groups allege that President Paul Kagame governs within a climate of repression, marked by restrictions on dissent and free speech, Al Jazeera said.

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