Britain’s interior minister, Home Secretary Suella Braverman, is heading to Rwanda Friday for talks about Britain’s £140 million (€160 million) deal to send refugees to Rwanda.
She is set to underline her commitment to Britain’s deal with Rwanda, which her predecessor Priti Patel struck in April 2022.
The government hopes that the decisive — and divisive — measure will stop tens of thousands of migrants reaching Britain in boats across the English Channel.
Last week, Braverman said she could not make a definitive statement on whether the ‘Illegal Migration Bill’ was compatible with the ECHR.
The governments’ plan to detain and remove people who arrive “irregularly” on small boats by crossing the Channel is likely to violate protections ensured by the treaty, such as limits on detention and nonrefoulement.
Describing the current process as “deeply flawed”, she said the government had “initiated discussions” with the ECHR, following its intervention last year to block plans to send some asylum-seekers to Rwanda.
Members of the British government have said they want to pull out of the ECHR to allow for a highly controversial crackdown on migration.
Despite the Conservative government’s promises to ‘take back control’ of its borders following the 2016 Brexit referendum, the UK government has struggled to get a grip on the issue. The UK has recorded a significant increase in illegal channel boat crossings in recent years, with 45,000 migrants reaching Britain’s shores last year.
What is so controversial about the Rwanda deal?
In June 2022, the British government was thwarted in its attempt to send a handful of migrants on a charter plane more than 6,4000 km to Rwanda, after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) stepped in to issue injunctions, meaning the flight was cancelled.
London struck a deal with Rwanda in April to sends tens of thousands of asylum seekers who arrived illegally in Britain to the East African country to have their claims processed. The British government says the plan will stem the flow of migrants who make dangerous trips across the English Channel from France.
The United Nations’ refugee chief has called the policy “catastrophic”, the entire leadership of the Church of England denounced it as immoral and shameful, and media reports have said Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, had privately described the plan as “appalling”.
The government argues the policy will smash the business model of people-smuggling networks, but political opponents say it is a divisive stunt and an expensive shambles.
The European court’s late intervention has also led some in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party to call for the UK to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights altogether.
The prime minister at the time, Boris Johnson, said that nothing was being ruled out.