Rwandan government breaks silence after Keir Starmer axes migrant flig | Politics | News

July 8, 2024
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The Rwandan Government insists it “remains committed to finding solutions to the global migration crisis” after Keir Starmer axed deportation flights to Kigali.

The new Prime Minister said the scheme – which was central to the Conservatives‘ plan to stop the small boats – had been scrapped within hours of him taking office.

Sir Keir has branded it a “gimmick” and insisted the money paid to Kigali would be diverted to pay for a new Border Security Command.

The Rwandan Government said in a statement on Monday night: “Rwanda takes note of the intention of the UK Government to terminate the Migration and Economic Development Partnership Agreement, as provided for under the terms of the Treaty passed by both our Parliaments.

“This partnership was initiated by the Government of the UK in order to address the crisis of irregular migration affecting the UK — a problem of the UK, not Rwanda.

“Rwanda has fully upheld its side of the agreement, including with regard to finances, and remains committed to finding solutions to the global migration crisis, including providing safety, dignity and opportunity to refugees and migrants who come to our country.”

Under the Government’s plan for a new Border Security Command, more British investigators and spies will be based in Europe to hunt down migrant smuggling gangs.

Labour is hoping MI5 intelligence officers will treat people smugglers like foreign spies and terrorists.

This could see them bug smugglers’ phones and trace their movements, sources suggested.

The new command would bring together officers from agencies including MI5, Immigration Enforcement and the National Crime Agency, focused on stopping people smugglers and “freed from the cloying bureaucracy that so often prevents collaboration between different institutions”.

The Government now has very few options on where it can send failed asylum seekers.

Ministers are unable to send migrants to many of the countries where the largest cohorts of small boat arrivals come from due to fears they could be killed, tortured or falsely imprisoned.

Former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was forced to draw up emergency legislation after the Supreme Court in November ruled the Rwanda scheme was illegal.

The Bill declared that Rwanda is a safe country and was introduced alongside a treaty declaring that migrants will not be sent from Kigali back to their home countries.

Ministers also believed the Rwanda Bill would prevent “systemic” legal challenges against the proposals and end the “endless” cycle of appeals by migrants and their lawyers.

But Sir Keir said of the scheme: “The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started.”

He argued the scheme has “never been a deterrent” as it would only deport “less than1%” of small boat arrivals.

He added: “Look at the numbers that have come over in the first six and a bit months of this year, they are record numbers, that is the problem that we are inheriting.

“It’s had the complete opposite effect and I’m not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don’t act as a deterrent.”


This is a breaking story. More to follow.



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