UNHCR Firmly opposes UK-Rwanda immigration processing
Posted By GEO´ PRWire Channel Team – Gibraltar
A deal reportedly made by the United Kingdom to send some migrants for processing and relocation to the Central African nation of Rwanda, are at odds with States’ responsibility to take care of those in need of protection, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Thursday.
In an initial response, UNHCR spelled out that it was not a party to negotiations that have taken place between London and Kigali, which it is understood were part of an economic development partnership.
According to news reports, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has said the scheme costing around $160 million, would “save countless lives” from human trafficking, and the often treacherous water crossing between southern England and the French coast, known as the English Channel.
“UNHCR remains firmly opposed to arrangements that seek to transfer refugees and asylum seekers to third countries in the absence of sufficient safeguards and standards,” said UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, describing the arrangements as shifting asylum responsibilities and evading international obligations that are “contrary to the letter and spirit of the Refugee Convention
Stand in solidarity
UNHCR urged both countries to re-think the scheme, warning that instead of deterring refugees from perilous journeys, the externalization arrangements would only magnify risks, causing refugees to seek alternative routes, and exacerbate pressures on frontline States migrants are seeking to pass through.
While Rwanda has for decades generously provided a safe haven to refugees fleeing conflict and persecution, the majority live in camps with limited access to economic opportunities.
UNHCR underscored that wealthier nations must show solidarity in supporting Rwanda and the refugees it already hosts, and not the other way around.
“People fleeing war, conflict and persecution deserve compassion and empathy,” underscored Ms. Triggs. “They should not be traded like commodities and transferred abroad for processing”.
UNHCR said in its statement that the UK has an obligation to ensure access for asylum seekers – integrating those deemed to be refugees and safely returning to their country of origin, people with no legal basis to stay.
However, Britain is instead adopting arrangements that abdicate responsibility to others, thus threatening the international refugee protection regime that has stood the test of time and saved millions of lives over the decades. Learn More/…