The endless soap opera has come to an end and has turned to Rishi Sunak’s advantage. After numerous negotiations, arbitrations and parliamentary shuttles, the British Prime Minister’s Rwandan plan was definitively adopted by parliament this Monday, April 22. A victory for the resident of 10 Downing Street, who wanted to credit this text to his majority, while the polls announce a victory for the Labor opposition in the local elections on May 2.

Deemed too soft by the right wing of the conservatives and inhumane by the progressives, this project seemed to satisfy no one and almost failed on numerous occasions. Last November, the British Supreme Court ruled that Rwanda could not be considered a safe third country, forcing the government to review its copy. Subsequently, a standoff between the House of Lords, in favor of a softening of the text, and the government, stuck to adoption without modifications. This ultimately worked to the advantage of the executive, since the heart of this controversial Rwandan plan remains.

Some asylum seekers arriving in the UK will now be able to be sent to Rwanda, where their asylum claims will be considered under a five-year Treaty signed between London and Kigali. According to the government, this outsourcing of requests should make it possible to prevent asylum seekers from remaining on national territory once their applications have been rejected.

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The migrants concerned will receive 3,000 pounds sterling, or 3,500 euros. Those whose application is accepted will be able to obtain refugee status and remain in Rwanda. Others will be able to ask to settle in Rwanda on other grounds, or request asylum in another safe third country. Whatever happens, no asylum seeker is expected to return to the United Kingdom.

London wants to believe that ultimately, this policy will deter Channel crossings, which have increased significantly since the start of 2024, and will break up the smugglers’ trade. During a press conference organized this Monday, the British Prime Minister announced that “the first flight” would leave “in 10 to 12 weeks”. According to a British government spokesperson, this could initially affect 19,000 people per year.

This five-year agreement between the United Kingdom and Rwanda was concluded in response to the snub inflicted by the British Supreme Court last November. The text voted on in Parliament, which is based on this Treaty, therefore plans to prevent the courts from contesting the fact that Rwanda is a safe country and exempts expulsions from certain provisions provided for by British law on human rights.

The text further specifies that the government may also decide not to take into account the measures of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) if it decides to prevent charter takeoffs to Rwanda. Note that Rishi Sunak reaffirmed on Monday that if this were the case, he would not hesitate to remove the United Kingdom from the ECHR. A glance addressed to the most radical fringe of the conservative camp, which has been demanding this long-standing measure, as well as freedom from international conventions.

The objective of the text is therefore clear. This involves reducing to a trickle the avenues allowing migrants to oppose legal recourse to their sending to Kigali. Concretely, they will always be able to assert their personal situation to contest the expulsion, serious mental or physical disorders for example. But they will no longer be able to claim that they risk being persecuted there.

This overview would be incomplete if we did not mention the measures which were debated in Parliament, but which are ultimately not part of the text. Monday evening, the House of Lords delayed the final vote, attempting to introduce for the umpteenth time two amendments intended to soften the scope of the text. The first planned to exempt Afghans who served alongside the British army from the possibility of being deported to Kigali. The second aimed to establish a monitoring committee responsible for establishing whether or not Rwanda was a safe country. But the House of Representatives chose to withdraw these measures before sending the text back to the Lords who, tired of fighting, gave in during the night from Monday to Tuesday.