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'We must stop the boats,' UK Home Secretary says ahead of statement on new Bill

March 7, 2023 at 3:23 pm

Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman arrives in Downing Street to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London [Wiktor Szymanowicz – Anadolu Agency]

British Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, said a new Bill that will be brought to the House of Commons on Tuesday will “stop the boats” carrying migrants across the Channel, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Speaking to The Telegraph ahead of her statement in Parliament, Braverman said: “We must stop the boats and that’s what our Bill will do. No more sticking plasters or shying away from the difficult decisions.”

Braverman’s remarks came on the day when she will reveal the details of the new legislation, which will make it possible to detain migrants arriving illegally and deport them to their home country, or to Rwanda, until their asylum claims are processed – a plan rejected by human rights groups.

“Myself and the Prime Minister have been working tirelessly to ensure we have a Bill that works; we’ve pushed the boundaries of international law to solve this crisis … If you come here illegally, it must be that you cannot stay,” Braverman said, responding to those questioning the legality of the new bill in terms of international law.

British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, spoke to Rwandan President, Paul Kagame, Monday night ahead of the announcements, in a sign of the Premier’s continued commitment to the Rwanda deportation policy, according to The Telegraph.

READ: UK Rwanda deportees include victims of torture, human trafficking: Study

Sunak said, in December, that he would press on with the controversial Rwanda plan, a few months after the initial flights to take asylum seekers to the African country to apply for British asylum there, were stopped by legal representatives through legal channels.

The British High Court ruled in December that the government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda are lawful.

Braverman’s statement is expected to come to the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

Cruel, inhumane, illegal

Activists and groups working for migrant rights condemned the new legislation expected to implement the deportation of people who aim to seek asylum by entering the UK through the Channel.

“Migrant Voice”, a migrant-led non-profit organisation based in the UK, strongly condemned the expected law. In a press statement, it said the government’s plan to detail and deport all those who enter the UK via small boats crossing the Channel will not just strip their right to seek safety in the UK, it will also punish them for doing so.

READ: Iran calls UK Navys report on seized Iranian arms fake new

“This is cruel, inhumane, illegal under the international law,” Nazek Ramadan, the Director of “Migrant Voice”, said in a statement.

According to the NGO, two-thirds of the people reaching the Channel are granted asylum. Among the top nationalities of people seeking asylum are Afghan, Syrian, Iranian, Eritrean and Sudanese. However, there are very few safe routes for them to reach the UK.

“Instead of using people seeking safety as scapegoats for political gain, the government should come up with workable, fair and humane policies and safe routes for all who need protection,” it said.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Refugee and Migrant Rights Programs Director at Amnesty International UK, also said the new migration bill would be “unworkable and dangerous”.

“If government forces law through Parliament to make it ‘illegal’ under UK law to seek asylum, that won’t make seeking asylum any less legitimate. It would, however, seriously rob UK law of legitimacy. Not to mention making it unworkable, harmful, dangerous,” he wrote on Twitter.

Amnesty International, an international rights NGO, said the UK government’s plan is a “disaster, avoiding responsibilities and punishing people fleeing conflict and persecution.”

In a statement on Twitter, it urged the government to create safer routes.

READ: UK: Charities, politicians, slam Sunak’s Illegal Immigration Bill