Top UN officials urge UK to reconsider plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

Tuesday April 23 2024

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak holds a press conference, following the Supreme Court's Rwanda policy judgement, at Downing Street in London, Britain on November 15, 2023. PHOTO | REUTERS


Two United Nations top officials on Tuesday called on the UK to reconsider its plan to transfer asylum seekers to Rwanda, warning the move would have a harmful impact on human rights and refugee protection.

In a joint statement, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk called on the UK to instead take practical measures to address irregular flows of migrants and refugees.

"The new legislation marks a further step away from the UK's long tradition of providing refuge to those in need, in breach of the Refugee Convention," said Grandi.

Read: UNHRC urges UK to abandon Rwanda migration bill

Turk, who has criticised the plan before, said that the legislation "seriously hinders the rule of law in the UK and sets a perilous precedent globally".

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised on Monday to start sending asylum seekers to Rwanda within 10 to 12 weeks as the upper house of parliament passed legislation that had been delayed for weeks by attempts to alter the plan.


Other countries are considering tough measures to stem illegal migration, with Italy planning to build reception camps in Albania for thousands of migrants arriving by sea.