Watch Nidhi Razdan: Why UK’s asylum deportation policy is unfair Video Credit: Gulf News

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has got through one of the most controversial pieces of legislation through parliament, the Rwanda Bill, which will not allow “illegal” asylum seekers to enter the UK but be deported to Rwanda for “precessing” instead. They can either settle in Rwanda or another country but they cannot return to the UK.

The UK will end up paying Rwanda about 370 million GBP for this scheme over the next five years.

The new law, which was passed after the UK Supreme Court had ruled against it, is simply downright inhumane. Those who seek refuge in the UK are often from war zones, the poorest, most marginalised, politically persecuted people. They risk life and limb to escape their lives of misery, often on small boats organised by criminal gangs across the English Channel, which has also lead to a number of deaths.

Only days ago, 5 people died as they tried to cross over in a boat from France to England including a child. These are people willing to risk their lives to escape, desperately holding out for a better future.

To turn them away so ruthlessly tells you everything you need to know about the Tories and Sunak’s desperate bid to save his party from a totally embarrassing defeat in the general elections later this year.

Read more by Nidhi Razdan

Worrying global precedent

The new law has come in for strong criticism. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement: “Protecting refugees requires all countries — not just those neighbouring crisis zones — to uphold their obligations. This arrangement seeks to shift responsibility for refugee protection, undermining international cooperation and setting a worrying global precedent.”

Amnesty International in the UK called the legislation “a stain on this country’s moral reputation”.

There is a reason that the UK’s top court had struck down the Rwanda Bill as unlawful. It had cited Rwanda’s safety record. What a cruel irony it is to send those running away from persecution, to a country where these refugees may find it even harder.

The court said the plan also went against the European Convention on Human Rights. Those who are seeking safety and security need compassion and help. Not to be kicked out to Africa.

Spanner in Sunak’s plans?

Yes, the problem of undocumented migration is real and the UK needs to find a way to streamline processes and put systems in place rather than a mass deportation policy. But politically, Sunak probably figures that it will pay to fear monger, to talk about protecting borders and keeping illegal migrants out.

The Rwanda policy is not just a morally unacceptable but also a really bad policy. For the UK, it means paying out hundreds of millions of more pounds over the next few years while it faces possible legal challenges even now such as in the European Court of Human Rights. The UK is still part of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Meanwhile British authorities have started detaining asylum seekers and the first flights to Rwanda are expected to take off as early as July. Hopefully the legal challenges will be put a spanner in Sunak’s plans.