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Rishi Sunak's Rwanda deportation strategy drives asylum seekers to Ireland

Friday May 10, 2024

Migrants had set up camp in Dublin after travelling from Britain to avoid being deported to Rwanda CREDIT: Anadolu

London (HOL) — In response to the UK government's controversial plan to deport migrants to Rwanda, many asylum seekers are fleeing to Ireland, fearing the harsh deportation policies. The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has stated that from July, the government intends to begin deportations as a deterrent against illegal crossings from France by small boats. The move comes despite a lack of formal agreements to return asylum seekers to France following Brexit.

Irish officials are now drafting emergency legislation to counteract a court decision preventing the return of migrants to the UK. This follows a March ruling by the Irish High Court, which deemed the UK unsafe for returning migrants due to concerns about Rwanda’s human rights record.

The story of a young Somali, known as "Ali" to protect his identity, illustrates the broader issue. After over two years in the UK and facing constant threats of deportation, Ali and others like him are seeking safer havens. Ali told the BBC, "When we heard about the deportations to Rwanda, the situation became unbearable, and everyone scattered. I ended up in Ireland."

The crisis has highlighted the increase in asylum seekers entering Ireland, with Ireland’s Justice Minister Helen McEntee revealing that 80% of recent asylum seekers arrived from Northern Ireland. However, she noted that these statistics were not based on solid evidence. Most asylum claims in Ireland are made domestically rather than at points of entry, indicating that many are fleeing from the UK.

UK's Prime Minister Sunak supports the deportation plan to Rwanda, claiming the rise in migrants in Ireland validates the policy's effectiveness. Despite delays, the UK government has passed legislation enabling the Rwanda plan and is optimistic about initiating deportation flights. They have also invested $600,000 in border patrols and a new detention center in France.

When asked about negotiations with the EU to facilitate the Rwanda plan, Prime Minister Sunak responded, "No negotiations are underway, but I am committed to implementing the project." This ongoing situation poses significant challenges for migrants, the UK, and Ireland as they navigate complex international and humanitarian laws.

- With files from BBC


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