In a renewed effort to salvage a controversial agreement to deport migrants arriving illegally in the UK, London and Kigali have signed a new treaty in Rwanda three weeks after the rejection of a previous project. The British government is keen on reviving this flagship measure after a mid-November setback when the British Supreme Court deemed the initial project illegal.
The new agreement, signed in Kigali by British Home Secretary James Cleverly and Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, addresses the Supreme Court’s findings. It pledges a long-term solution, ensuring migrants deported to Rwanda will not face the risk of being returned to a country where their life or liberty would be threatened.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta expressed the country’s commitment to addressing the illegal immigration crisis in partnership with the UK. Meanwhile, James Cleverly commended the Rwandan government, acknowledging the criticisms it has faced.
The 43-page binding treaty under international law includes the establishment of a joint tribunal with Rwandan and British judges in Kigali to safeguard migrants’ safety. It emphasizes that migrants’ complaints will be heard.
The agreement, deemed a “safe country” by the UK, must now undergo ratification by the British and Rwandan parliaments. In addition to the treaty, emergency legislation will be introduced in the UK Parliament to designate Rwanda as a safe country, according to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Despite setbacks and criticisms, the British government is pushing forward with its firm stance on immigration, both legal and illegal, ahead of the upcoming general election.