British parliament votes in favor of new UK-Rwanda migration deal

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British lawmakers on Tuesday, December 12, voted in favor of the new UK-Rwanda migration treaty inked on December 5 in Kigali between the foreign ministers of the two countries.

The deal seeks to revive the Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP), which was ruled unlawful by the UK Supreme Court in November.

ALSO READ: Inside Rwanda, UK new treaty for asylum seekers

The UK Supreme Court ruled against the deal because there were “substantial grounds for believing that asylum seekers would face a real risk of ill-treatment by reason of refoulement to their country of origin” if they were transferred to Rwanda.

In response, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed a new treaty with Rwanda entailing clauses that ensure that people relocated to Rwanda under the partnership are not at risk of being returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened.

The treaty enhances the functions of an independent monitoring committee to ensure compliance with its obligations, such as reception conditions, processing of asylum claims, and treatment and support for individuals, including up to five years after they have received a final determination of their status.

During a parliamentary session on Tuesday, the House of Commons voted 313-269 to approve the bill in principle, sending it on for further scrutiny.

The UK-Rwanda plan aims to relocate people who arrive in the UK in small boats, to Rwanda where they could claim asylum

The bill will now go off for more detailed inquiry in the committee stage – with further votes on it in 2024.

According to the United Nations, more than 2,500 migrants died or went missing in 2023 while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe.


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