UK: Tories push through Rwanda deal

After much wrangling the two chambers of the British Parliament have voted in favour of the Conservative government’s controversial Rwanda deal, which declares Rwanda a safe third country despite the Supreme Court’s ruling that it is not. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wants the first deportation flights to depart in ten to twelve weeks. Scepticism is rife among commentators.

The Spectator (GB) /

Doomed to fail

This plan won’t curb illegal migration, says The Spectator:

“But what is now clear is that the Rwanda plan is not going to provide a durable deterrent at sufficient scale to ‘stop the boats’. To go into the next election having just got it underway and without it yet being seen to have failed is probably as good as things can get for Sunak. In which case my own money would be on the job falling even further behind schedule. A couple of flights sparsely populated by a few dozen migrants who carelessly failed to engage sufficiently canny lawyers may get airborne around September time. But they’ll be back when Labour pulls the plug on the whole scheme.”

Patrick O’Flynn
The Times (GB) /

Give the scheme a chance

Not doing anything is not an option for the British government, says The Times in the bill’s defence:

“Opponents of the bill on Labour’s benches, satisfied with dismissing the Rwanda scheme as an expensive ‘gimmick’, offer little in the way of a concrete alternative. ...However expensive the Rwanda scheme proves, the alternative of doing nothing is hardly cheap and politically unsustainable to boot. ... In the end, the test of the UK’s scheme will not be the raw number of asylum seekers removed to Rwanda, but the number it successfully dissuades from making illegal crossings in the first place. It is an ambitious idea well worth undertaking.”

Libération (FR) /

Moral failure

European society must reject such deals, criticises Libération:

“If you are so willing to risk your life, can the possibility of being sent to Rwanda really deter you? None of this makes any sense, especially when one considers how much could be done to improve the lives of Britons and migrants with the 337 million euros that this project will cost even before the first plane takes off. The saddest thing is that the British have not taken to the streets en masse. ... The most worrying thing is that Europe itself is increasingly tempted to build walls against migrants. That is the greatest danger: the gradual loss of all the values that unite us.”

Alexandra Schwartzbrod (DE) /

Undermining the rule of law

Sven Lohmann, ARD correspondent in London, sharply criticises the law on

“The Supreme Court in the UK has declared that Rwanda is not a safe country for refugees. People are fleeing the country and heading north, including to the UK. Those seeking protection should therefore not be brought to the African country. The only way to push through the plan is to simply declare by law that Rwanda is safe, as the Tories are now doing. ... But what if national courts set the record straight? Then a little more ruthlessness is required: the British government is therefore undermining its rule of law and for the most part prohibiting the possibility to appeal.”

Sven Lohmann
De Volkskrant (NL) /

Fabricating world peace

De Volkskrant columnist Ibtihal Jadib scoffs:

“When human capabilities prove unable to adapt to reality, then reality will be adapted for us. ... The British government passed a law and since then Rwanda has been safe. I’m now keeping my fingers crossed that the British will make exactly the same law for Ukraine, Sudan, Palestine and Israel, Yemen, Syria, Haiti, Congo, Nigeria and Afghanistan. World peace at last.”

Ibtihal Jadib
Avvenire (IT) /

Europe contemplating a similar approach

The British model could set a precedent for the EU, fears Avvenire:

“The other project that is very popular in the EU and of interest to London is the controversial opening of two migrant centres in Albania, which are to accommodate 3,000 migrants and will cost one billion euros. A sum that could be better spent on reception and integration. The hope is that no one in Rome will want to copy the Rwandan plan, which is useless and costly because it’s easy to set off from the African Great Lakes to the north with smugglers. Whether governments like it or not, abandoning refugees in unsafe third countries is a blatant violation of human rights.”

Paolo Lambruschi