Following a long session, the UK-Rwanda migration pact is approved.


After a protracted debate that lasted well into the night between the upper and lower houses of parliament, the controversial plans of the UK government to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda finally cleared a last obstacle on Monday.

The Conservatives, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have been attempting to pass laws requiring judges to consider the country of East Africa to be a safe third country.

In order to circumvent a UK Supreme Court decision that it was unlawful to put people on a one-way ticket to Kigali, they also seek to provide decision-makers on asylum petitions the authority to ignore specific provisions of both domestic and international human rights law.

However, the administration had to fight a parliamentary war to do this, since the House of Lords, the upper house that reviews bills, kept returning the proposed legislation to the lower House of Commons with changes.

Peers have criticized the bill for being insufficient and specifically sought to add a clause stating that Rwanda could not be considered safe unless it was certified as such by an impartial monitoring organization.

They also hoped to prevent the removal of Afghans who had fought with British soldiers, as well as other agents, allies, and workers of the UK abroad.

The “parliamentary ping pong” process saw members of the Commons, where the Conservatives hold a majority, vote down each amendment and request further consideration from the Lords.

The unelected upper house pressed hard, with no party having a majority in total.

However, they finally gave in to the will of the elected MPs just before midnight (2300 GMT), breaking the impasse and guaranteeing the bill will now obtain royal assent to become law.

Pressure to reduce the historic number of asylum seekers using tiny boats to cross the Channel from northern France has been building on Sunak’s government, especially after the UK withdrew from the European Union and a harder immigration policy was promised.

Since it was originally put up in 2022, the Rwanda scheme—criticized by UN human rights experts and organizations that assist asylum seekers—has faced numerous judicial challenges.

Due to an injunction from the European Court of Human Rights, the first deportees that year were abruptly removed from their flight. No migrants have been dispatched in the past two years.

According to estimates from the National Audit Office, a watchdog on public spending, deporting the first 300 migrants would cost the UK £540 million ($665 million), or about £2 million per individual.

According to charities, the plan is not feasible and won’t significantly reduce the backlog of asylum petitions because of the tiny number of participants.Some critics claim it will harm the UK’s reputation abroad and undermine its moral authority because it creates a risky precedent for parliament to legislate on a matter that courts have already ruled to be unconstitutional.

The tiny country of 13 million people, Rwanda, claims to be among the most stable in Africa. However, human rights organizations charge that longtime leader Paul Kagame suppresses free expression and opposition by governing in an atmosphere of fear.

Predicting a wave of deportations “come what may” during the summer, Sunak had earlier on Monday claimed that the administration was prepared and had arrangements in place for the first flights to take off in 10 to 12 weeks.As the nation gets ready for elections later this year, the prime minister is counting on his signature “stop the boats” policy to serve as a deterrent and enhance his party’s popularity.

After 14 years in power, the Conservatives are certain to lose their majority because they have continuously lagged behind the main opposition Labour party in polls.

Legal objections may yet thwart Sunak’s plans, and UN human rights experts have indicated that airlines and aviation regulators may be in violation of internationally recognized human rights regulations if they participate in deportations.

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