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UK Reportedly Sends First Ever Asylum Seeker to Kigali Under Rwanda Deportation Bill

© AP Photo / Leon NealBritain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak holds a press conference, following the Supreme Court's Rwanda policy judgement
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak holds a press conference, following the Supreme Court's Rwanda policy judgement - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 01.05.2024
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Illegal immigration has been a pressing issue for the United Kingdom for years, and it has only escalated after the country left the European Union in 2020. The centerpiece of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's plan to deport asylum seekers is Rwanda, but the plan has been criticized and repeatedly delayed by legal challenges.
Authorities of the United Kingdom have flown out the first-ever asylum seeker to Kigali under a deportation deal with Rwanda, the UK media reported.
Earlier this week, the UK parliament passed the Rwanda deportation bill. Ahead of the bill's passage, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the first deportation flights from the UK to Rwanda could begin in 10-12 weeks. He added that there would be multiple flights per month through the summer and beyond.
The report said on Tuesday that the unnamed migrant, whose bid to stay in the UK was rejected at the end of 2023, was flown out of the country on Monday evening. He was sent on a commercial flight to Rwanda and handed some 3,000 pounds ($3,746) to help him relocate under the deal, the report said.
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosts a press conference - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 17.04.2024
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The man of African origin voluntarily accepted "passage to a new life" in the central African nation, the newspaper reported. He is the first asylum seeker to be relocated by the UK government to a third country "in what ministers are hoping is the first of thousands," the report said.
On Sunday, British media reported that the UK interior ministry would launch mass detention of migrants across the United Kingdom on April 29, weeks ahead of schedule, for their further deportation to Rwanda.
Rwanda and the UK signed a migration agreement in 2022, under which people identified by the UK government as undocumented migrants or asylum seekers will be deported to Rwanda for processing, asylum and resettlement. The scheme has drawn criticism from human rights organizations, as well as numerous politicians and officials within the UK.
The first deportation flight was supposed to take place in June 2022 but never happened due to the intervention of the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled it unlawful. The UK government had to draft a new deal last year after the UK Supreme Court determined that the initial scheme did not guarantee the safety of asylum seekers.