British taxpayers will shoulder additional expenses following the agreement on a deportation scheme for asylum seekers with the Rwandan government, stated the home secretary. He emphasized that the government’s focus was not on seeking “cheap and quick popularity.”
The recently established agreement will require the UK to cover the expenses for British and Commonwealth judges overseeing a new appeals process, along with all legal fees for individuals deported to Rwanda. Home Secretary James Cleverly signed the agreement, making him the third UK home secretary to do so in the past 19 months. The treaty was devised in response to a recent Supreme Court ruling that deemed the government’s deportation plans unlawful.
As of now, the UK government has allocated £140 million to the Rwandan government, but specific details about the extra costs incurred in both Rwanda and the UK, particularly in various prolonged court cases, have not been disclosed. When questioned about additional funding for the new treaty, Home Secretary James Cleverly stated that the financial arrangement is part of an international agreement and is designed to reflect the costs that may be incurred by Rwanda due to changes in their legal systems and institutions brought about by the partnership.
James Cleverly emphasized that the Rwandan government did not request any money for the new treaty, and no funds were provided to them in connection with the agreement. He acknowledged that addressing migration is crucial and comes with associated costs, but the UK government views it as the right course of action. Cleverly emphasized that the collaboration between the UK and Rwanda on this matter is driven by its importance rather than seeking easy or quick popularity.
The government says the new treaty responds directly to the conclusions of the Supreme Court and presents a new long-term solution.
The recently signed treaty with Rwanda comes in response to the UK Supreme Court’s rejection of the deportation policy on November 15, citing concerns about the potential wrongful return of refugees to countries where they might face persecution.
Under the new agreement, British and Commonwealth judges will oversee an appeals process in Rwanda’s high court for exceptional cases. Individuals sent to Rwanda will receive taxpayer-funded legal assistance throughout the entire process. The Rwandan government has affirmed that individuals will only be returned to the UK, suggesting that asylum seekers who commit crimes in Rwanda could face deportation to the UK.
As part of the treaty, the UK will send experts, funded by the UK government, to Rwanda to aid in the processing of asylum decisions. The Home Office argues that the treaty strengthens the role of a monitoring committee in Rwanda.
Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister, Vincent Biruta, expressed the view that Rwanda had been unfairly treated by the courts, international organizations, and the media, suggesting that internal UK politics might have played a role in the situation.
The recent treaty between the UK and Rwanda comes amid Home Office data revealing that 28,318 asylum seekers are currently awaiting removal to Rwanda. Enver Solomon, the chief executive of the Refugee Council, emphasized the negative consequences of such plans for refugees, who face unsafe and dangerous situations. Many are avoiding essential services due to the fear of being removed to Rwanda, heightening the risk of exploitation and abuse. Solomon also highlighted the severe impact the treaty could have on the mental health and well-being of asylum seekers, who are already grappling with stress, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts due to the trauma they have endured.