Rwanda Policy serves as deterrence for illegal migrants – UK envoy

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By Chinenye Offor

Dr Richard Montgomery, the British High Commissioner in Nigeria says his country’s Rwanda Policy is intended to serve as discouragement to illegal migrants seeking asylum in the European country.

Montgomery said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He explained that the UK Parliament had agreed in a bill passed into law to partner with Rwanda in handling illegal migrants to the UK and deporting them to Rwanda.

According to him, the Rwanda Policy is a way of sending signal to illegal migrants that even if they are able to find their way to the UK through the wrong channel, they would still not succeed in remaining in the UK.

He said that the migrants would be housed, looked after, and if they have genuine asylum concerns, their cases would be assessed and processed.

He however said that the agreement with Rwanda still had to be legally ratified, and to go through its own processes. But I believe that it will be ratified as an international treaty.

“It is really important to stress that this is about illegal migration to the UK. It is about people who are often exploited by criminal gangs to take what is an awfully terribly perilous journey.

“That is crossing the English channel in tiny boats run by criminal gangs, with the promise of getting them into the UK. This is really tragic because many people die while crossing”.

The envoy also said it was premature to say whether or not Nigerians were part of the policy at the current stage of the implementation plan.

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He noted that it would not be appropriate to talk about individual cases or to talk about operational planning.

He gave an assurance that some safeguards have been put in place to check the entire process.

“We have been working directly with relevant authorities to ensure that there is a decent standard of housing for the people that will be deported.

“They will have access to whatever level of education they need from primary to tertiary and vocational education.

“They will have the right to work in Rwanda. They are economic migrants, but there will be some people who may have legitimate asylum claims.

“We have been working with the Rwandan judiciary and their bar association to ensure that the migrants have “caseworkers” and legal representation to go through due process,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Deborah Coker/Emmanuel Yashim

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