Johnson's asylum agreement with Rwanda

The British government has announced plans to relocate newly arrived refugees to Rwanda, 6,500 kilometres away from the UK, for the duration of their asylum procedure. Even those recognised as entitled to asylum are to remain in Rwanda. The deal with the Rwandan government has met with harsh criticism due to the poor human rights situation in Rwanda and President Paul Kagame's authoritarian style of government. The press is divided.

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Le Monde (FR) /

Diversionary tactics before the local elections

Johnson just wants to put new issues on the agenda, says Le Monde:

“In promising to 'outsource' the processing of asylum applications to Rwanda, the British prime minister aims to discourage migrants from crossing the Channel. But above all, three weeks before local elections that could be dangerous for his party, he's trying to divert voters' attention from the scandal over the fine he had to pay for breaking the Covid rules. Johnson is presenting the new procedure as a 'Brexit dividend' that fulfils his promise to regain control of the country's borders. He is also trying to make people forget the negative economic and diplomatic consequences of leaving the EU.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

A good, Christian plan

The Daily Telegraph cannot understand why the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby criticised the plan in his Easter sermon:

“Far from being vindictive, the idea is to prevent an even greater evil: people smuggling. Thousands of migrants, many of them young men in search of prosperity, not fleeing persecution, have paid large sums to travel through several perfectly safe countries in order to cross the Channel. ... Left-wing critics of the Rwandan policy must explain what it is they would do instead. Allow the boats to continue? Allow anyone to come here, by whatever means they wish? This would result in a most unChristian outcome, a survival of the fittest.”

The Independent (GB) /

Offshoring the nation's conscience

The Rwanda plan is too rigourous, The Independent criticises:

“In order for the Rwanda plan to have any chance of success, those destined to end up there will have to be terrified of the conditions they'll find. Cruelty and disease are baked into the scheme. ... Similar off-shoring centres pioneered by Australia ended up being squalid humanitarian disaster zones. On top of that, there is plainly one arbitrary set of rules for refugees from Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan (albeit flawed) and another for those from the rest of the world. ... This is a way of paying a poor country to accept helpless refugees, forgetting about them, and offshoring Britain's national conscience.”