The UK continues to defend its deal to send migrants to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed, despite ongoing opposition from human rights organizations and a last-minute court decision that halted a deportation flight to Kigali.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, the British architect of the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda, told the House of Commons that her office remains determined to secure UK borders.
“We aimed to relocate the first people from our country who arrived here through dangerous and illegal means, including by a small boat,” she said of the scheduled flight, which followed various legal challenges.
“I welcomed the decisions of our domestic courts, the High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court, to uphold our right to send the flight,” Patel added. “However, following a decision by an out of hours judge in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg minutes before our flight’s departure, the final individuals remaining on the flight had their removal directions paused while their claims were considered.”
Patel said the policy itself was not determined to be illegal, and aligns with domestic and international laws. She reiterated the UK stance on illegal migration, citing the expense and security risks of accepting the migrants.
“The global asylum system is broken. And between 80 to 100 million people are now displaced and others are on the move seeking better economic opportunities,” Patel said, adding that the UK partnership with Rwanda demonstrates a new path forward.
The UK deal includes £120 million in economic development funds for Rwanda and another £50 million in equipment and logistics, including new boats, aerial surveillance and military experts, in exchange for the relocation of migrants from Britain.
There, they can file asylum claims for approval to live in Rwanda or a third-party nation.
Image: UK Home Office file