UK, Rwanda defend asylum seeker programme at UN agency

GENEVA (AP) — Britain and Rwanda faced two U.N. agencies on Thursday that sharply criticized their controversial plan to send some asylum seekers from Britain to the African country.

Rwanda’s foreign minister, Vincent Biruta, acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of a meeting with senior officials from the United Nations human rights and refugee agencies that “it’s good that they were concerned”, adding that the purpose of the discussions was ” Get them involved” with both countries.

The UNHCR chief sounded unconvinced when he spoke on Twitter.

According to plans announced last month, British officials said they would send migrants who arrived in the UK illegally – usually stowaways or by boat across the English Channel – to Rwanda. The immigrant’s asylum application will be processed there, and if successful, the immigrant will remain there.

U.N. officials and other critics — especially in both countries — have raised human rights concerns and warned the move violated the international refugee convention.

Home Secretary Priti Patel says more than 20,000 people entered the UK illegally last year and insists her Conservative government – along with Rwanda – is “finding new and innovative solutions to global problems” amid the illegal immigration crisis Program”. The plan is to save the lives of people taken by smugglers trying to reach the UK on an often treacherous journey.

“I’m concerned that other organisations and other countries, you know, have not come up with alternatives – the status quo is simply unacceptable,” she said.

The meeting came a day after Patel’s London office chairing Biruta announced that “the first group of illegal immigrants not entitled to enter the UK have now been notified” of the UK government’s intention to relocate them to Rwanda.

Patel declined to specify how many people were in the first batch, how they arrived in the UK, or how many people in total could be sent to Rwanda under the plan, saying “we will not share details of our operations.”

She condemned the “massive amount of deliberate misinformation” about those who will be sent to Rwanda. She also touted her country’s “excellent record of relocating people and hosting migrants and refugees” – noting that 15,000 people were brought to the UK from Afghanistan and 100,000 visas were issued to Ukrainians.

Patel sought to distinguish between the legal route of entry that Britain welcomes and that of some migrants trying to enter illegally.

Ministers met with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, who last month – on the same day the UK Parliament passed a bill on asylum and nationality – criticised the UK government’s proposal to “undermine established Proposal for a new asylum approach for international refugees” expressing regrets for protection law and practice. “

When the plan – the Partnership for Migration and Economic Development – was announced in mid-April, Grandi’s Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees Gillian Triggs insisted that people fleeing war, conflict and persecution deserve compassion , adding: “They should not be traded like commodities and moved abroad for processing.”

After Thursday’s meeting, Grandi tweeted that he reiterated his concerns about the deal, adding: “Transferring responsibility for asylum is not the solution.” He said his agency, UNHCR, “will be Continue to propose concrete solutions that respect international law.”

The ministers also met with UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Nashef. Her office had no comment after Thursday’s meeting.

Last month, the UN Human Rights Office tweeted its support for UNHCR’s position, saying the plan raised human rights concerns – particularly about forced deportations, family separations, “arbitrary deprivation of liberty” and the prospect that cases may not be assessed individually. .

The UK Home Office issued a statement after the Geneva meeting, which also included diplomats visiting Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US, describing Rwanda as a “basically safe country”. It added that the partnership scheme will process asylum claims in accordance with the Refugee Convention and national and international human rights law.

Rwanda’s Biruta said the original plan had considered a possible participation of around 30,000 people, but Rwanda could take in thousands anyway.

Rwandan authorities have granted asylum to hundreds of asylum seekers in recent years thanks to arrangements with Israel, the African Union, the United Nations and others. Many are from Eritrea and Ethiopia, and some have spent months in detention centers in Libya.

some people who have been to rwanda always adhere to the country – With a population of 13 million, the most densely populated country in Africa, it is not a suitable refuge. Rwanda has hosted more than 130,000 refugees from countries including Burundi, Congo, Libya and Pakistan.

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