the bill for the expulsion of illegal migrants to Rwanda once again before Parliament

The British Conservative government’s controversial bill aimed at deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda returned to Parliament on Monday April 15, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak now hoping to obtain a final vote on the text after months of parliamentary debate. tense.

The stakes are high for Rishi Sunak, who has made this law the symbol of his migration policy. Its ambition is to charter the first planes to Rwanda in the spring, a few months before the legislative elections in which the Tories are seen as losers. The conservatives hope to discourage illegal migrants from arriving in the country illegally by crossing the Channel on makeshift boats.

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers Transferring asylum seekers to Rwanda: the stubbornness of Rishi Sunak’s government

The bill, first passed by the lower house of Parliament, was then softened by the House of Lords, very critical of the text, leading to a so-called phase of “ping-pong” between the two chambers, which must now agree.

The debates interrupted during the Easter break resumed at the end of the day on Monday in the House of Commons, where the Conservatives are in the majority and rejected the amendments proposed by the Lords.

Sharp increase in Channel crossings

“This week, Parliament has the opportunity to pass a law that will save the lives of those exploited by smuggling networks”the Prime Minister’s spokesperson had argued a little earlier, estimating “that we cannot continue with the status quo”.

The number of people crossing the Channel illegally on small boats increased by 41.7% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the first quarter of 2023, reaching a record level.

In total, 6,203 people have made the crossing since the beginning of January according to an AFP count based on official figures, including 534 on Sunday alone, a record since the start of the year.

Read also | United Kingdom: deporting migrants to Rwanda, a high-risk bet for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Initially concluded under Boris Johnson almost two years ago, the plan to deport migrants to Rwanda was never implemented. The text currently being examined in Parliament aims to respond to the conclusions of the Supreme Court which deemed the project illegal. In particular, it defines Rwanda as a safe third country.

Rwanda presents itself as one of the most stable countries on the African continent, but President Paul Kagame is accused of governing in a climate of fear, stifling dissent and freedom of expression.

The World with AFP

Reuse this content

source site-29