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Britain To Send Migrants, Asylum-seekers To Rwanda

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Rwanda

Under a controversial deal announced on Thursday, Britain will send migrants and asylum-seekers who cross the Channel thousands of miles away to Rwanda.

“From today… anyone entering the UK illegally as well as those who have arrived illegally since January 1 may now be relocated to Rwanda,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a speech near Dover in southeastern England.

“Rwanda will have the capacity to resettle tens of thousands of people in the years ahead,” Johnson said.

He called the East African nation with a sketchy human rights record “one of the safest countries in the world, globally recognised for its record of welcoming and integrating migrants.”

He also announced that Britain’s border agency would hand responsibility for patrolling the Channel for migrant boats to the navy.

“The Royal Navy will take over operational command from Border Force in the Channel with the aim that no boat makes it to the UK undetected,” Johnson said, announcing extra funds for boats, aircraft and surveillance equipment to help detain people-smugglers at sea.

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“This will send a clear message to those piloting the boats. If you risk other people’s lives in the Channel, you risk spending your own life in prison,” he said.

More than 28,000 people arrived in Britain having crossed the Channel from France in small boats in 2021.

Around 90 percent of those were male and three-quarters were men aged between 18 and 39.
The Rwanda plan swiftly drew the ire of opposition politicians who accused Johnson of trying to distract from his being fined for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules, while rights groups slammed the project as “inhumane”.

Ghana and Rwanda had previously been mentioned as possible locations for the UK to outsource the processing of migrants, but Ghana in January denied involvement.

Instead, Kigali on Thursday announced that it had signed a multi-million-dollar deal to do the job, during a visit by British Home Secretary Priti Patel.

“Rwanda welcomes this partnership with the United Kingdom to host asylum seekers and migrants, and offer them legal pathways to residence” in the East African nation, Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said in a statement.

The deal with Rwanda will be funded by the UK to the tune of up to 120 million pounds ($157 million, 144 million euros), with migrants “integrated into communities across the country,” it said.

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Refugee Action’s Tim Naor Hilton accused the government of “offshoring its responsibilities onto Europe’s former colonies instead of doing our fair share to help some of the most vulnerable people on the planet”.

“This grubby cash-for-people plan would be a cowardly, barbaric and inhumane way to treat people fleeing persecution and war,” he said.

Detention Action said that those sent there would “likely face indefinite detention under a government notorious for violent persecution of dissent.”

“At the same time, the UK currently gives asylum to Rwandan refugees fleeing political persecution,” the advocacy group said in a statement.

Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said the plan showed that the Conservative government was “institutionally racist”.

The government “rightly provides asylum and refuge to Ukrainians fleeing war, but wants to send others seeking asylum thousands of miles away to Rwanda for ‘processing’,” Yousaf tweeted.

Australia has a policy of sending asylum seekers arriving by boat to detention camps on the Pacific island nation of Nauru, with Canberra vowing no asylum seeker arriving by boat would ever be allowed to permanently settle in Australia.

Since 2015 the UK has “offered a place to over 185,000 men, women and children seeking refuge (…) more than any other similar resettlement schemes in Europe,” Johnson said.

According to the UN refugee agency, Germany received the highest number of asylum applicants (127,730) in Europe in 2021, followed by France (96,510), while the UK received the fourth largest number of applicants (44,190).
AFP

 

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UAE President Dies

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UAE President Dies

The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died on Friday, according to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

The ministry also confirmed there would be 40 days of official mourning with flags across the UAE drawn at half-mast, and the work of all UAE ministries at the federal and local levels, as well as those of the private sector, will also be suspended for three days, beginning on Friday.

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No official word is given yet on the cause of death. However, in a statement published in Arabic by the state news agency WAM, the ministry expressed its condolences to the people of the UAE and the Arab nations “on the death of the leader of the nation and the guardian of its journey, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the country.”

 

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Sri Lankan Prime Minister Resigns As Protests Persist

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Sri Lankan Prime Minister Resigns As Protests Persist

Amid raging protests, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday.

For many weeks now, there have been protests for he and his brother, the president, to step down over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, an official said.

An aide to the prime minister, Wijayananda Herath, confirmed that Rajapaksa submitted a letter of resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. There was no immediate official confirmation from the president’s office.

The resignation comes after authorities deployed armed troops in the capital, Colombo, on Monday following an attack earlier in the day by government supporters on protesters who have been camped outside the offices of the president and prime minster.

The Indian Ocean island nation is on the brink of bankruptcy and has suspended payments on its foreign loans. Its economic woes have brought on a political crisis, with the government facing widespread protests and a no-confidence motion in Parliament. Trade unions also called Monday for a general strike until the president and the rest of his ruling family leave.

The resignation of the prime minister means that the entire Cabinet is dissolved.

Supporters of the prime minister rallied inside his office earlier Monday, urging him to ignore the protesters’ demand to step down. They then went to the front of the office where protesters have been demonstrating for several days.

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Television channel Sirasa showed government supporters attacking protesters with clubs and iron bars, demolishing and then burning their tents.

After the attack, hundreds of armed soldiers were deployed in capital, as the protesters accused police of not preventing the attack despite using tear gas and water cannons on protesters as recently as Friday.

Sirasa TV showed government lawmaker Sanath Nishantha among the government supporters who attacked the protesters.

At the main hospital in Colombo, 23 people were admitted with non-critical injuries, an official said on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the media.

The attack came as protesters marked their 31st day outside the president’s and prime minister’s offices demanding that they and other powerful Rajapaksa family members quit. Similar protests have spread to other locations, with people setting up camps in other towns across the country.

Three other Rajapaksas out of the five who were lawmakers stepped down from their Cabinet posts in April.

For several months, Sri Lankans have endured long lines to buy fuel, cooking gas, food and medicine, most of which come from abroad. Shortages of hard currency have also hindered imports of raw materials for manufacturing and worsened inflation, which surged to 18.7% in March.

People blocked main roads to demand gas and fuel. On Sunday, television channel Hiru showed people in some areas fighting over fuel.
Sri Lanka was due to pay $7 billion of its foreign debt this year out of nearly $25 billion it must pay by 2026. Its total foreign debt is $51 billion.

Sri Lanka’s finance minister announced earlier this week that the country’s usable foreign reserves have plummeted below $50 million.

As oil prices soar during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Sri Lanka’s fuel stocks are running out. Authorities have announced countrywide power cuts will increase to about four a day because they can’t supply enough fuel to power generating stations.

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Protesters have crowded the streets since March, maintaining that President Rajapaksa and his family — who have dominated nearly every aspect of life in Sri Lanka for most of the last 20 years — are responsible for the crisis.

On Friday, President Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency, which empowers him to authorize detentions, property seizure and search of any premises. He can also change or suspend any law in the interests of public security and for the maintenance of essential supplies. Diplomats and rights groups have expressed concern over the move.

Sri Lanka has been holding talks with the International Monetary Fund to get an immediate funding facility as well as a long-term rescue plan but was told its progress would depend on negotiations on debt restructuring with creditors. Any long-term plan would take at least six months to get underway.
AP

 

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NATO Is A Threat To Russia – Putin

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NATO Is A Threat To Russia - Putin

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an obvious threat to Russia and its borders, Vladimir Putin has declared, amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

Putin stated this during his speech at the Victory Day parade in Moscow, with thousands of troops cheering in Red Square, according to BBC.

According to him, in Kyiv, they were saying they might get nuclear weapons and NATO started exploring the lands close to Russia.

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“In Kyiv, they were saying they might get nuclear weapons and NATO started exploring the lands close to us and that became an obvious threat to our country and to our borders. Everything was telling us that there is a need to fight,” Putin said.

Russia and Ukraine have been fighting for over two months.Several casualties have already been recorded as a result of the war.

Putin had ordered the invasion of Ukraine due to some political differences between both nations.

 

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