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UK to Send the First Migrant Flight to Rwanda in 10-12 Weeks

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UK to Send the First Migrant Flight to Rwanda
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during a press conference: Image Reuters

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Monday that the first flight bringing asylum seekers to Rwanda would depart in 10-12 weeks, as he outlined preparations for his hallmark initiative to combat illegal migration.

Sunak, speaking at a press conference, stated that the government has taken particular preparations but would not go into detail about the plan’s operations.

“I can confirm that we’ve put an airfield on standby, booked commercial charter planes for specific slots, and we have 500 highly trained individuals ready to escort illegal migrants all the way to Rwanda with 300 more trained in the coming weeks,” He said in a statement.

“We’re ready. Plans are in place. And these flights will go no matter what.” Sunak’s plan called for the first flight to leave in July.

Prime Minister Sunak also stated that he was “confident” that the proposal met all of Britain’s international commitments in response to a question concerning its participation in the European Convention on Human Rights.

“If it ever comes down to a choice between our national security — securing our borders — and membership in a foreign court, I’ll always prioritize our national security,” he said, referring to the European Court of Human Rights.

King Charles is likely to grant his Royal Assent to the bill in the coming days, effectively making it law.

Not only have opposition parties complained to the government’s Rwanda proposal, but human rights groups have also said it poses a “significant threat to the rule of law” by eroding what prevents citizens from official abuse of power.

Freedom from Torture, along with Amnesty International and Liberty, said in a statement: “We all deserve the opportunity to live a safe life and seek protection when we need it most.”

UK Migrants

Illegal Migrants Cross the English Channel: Image Reuters

UK home secretary to visit Italy over migrant crisis

Meanwhile, Britain’s Home Secretary, James Cleverly, is in Italy as part of the UK government’s efforts to tighten down on migrants arriving in small boats.

Cleverly will meet with his Italian counterpart, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, to discuss how Italy and Britain might increase their collaborative efforts to prevent migrants in North Africa from undertaking risky crossings over the Mediterranean Sea, authorities said Tuesday.

Cleverly will also visit Lampedusa, Italy’s southernmost island, which receives the majority of refugees entering in the country. In September, about 7,000 individuals came from Tunisia on the tiny island in a matter of 24 hours, overwhelming the local migrant processing center.

The visit comes as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak intensifies his calls for the UK Parliament to endorse his plan to return some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Sunak inked a contract with the east African country two years ago, insisting that his deportation plan is a critical deterrent that will help “stop the boats” – small unseaworthy vessels that transport migrants across the English Channel.

However, court orders and human rights groups have repeatedly stopped the scheme, claiming it is illegal and immoral.

British officials claim that both the United Kingdom and Italy are “global leaders in forging bold and novel solutions to illegal migration.”

“Our countries have shown we are willing to challenge the status quo and use innovative solutions to tackle the issues, while ferociously going after the people-smuggling gangs,” Cleverly said in a press release.

His office linked to a five-year agreement recently reached between Italy and Albania that will see Albania, which is not a member of the European Union, hold up to 3,000 refugees in two centers in Italy while their asylum applications are processed.

That contract, like Sunak’s Rwanda scheme, was heavily attacked by human rights organizations.

Source: Reuters

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