UK: Sunak vows to deport immigrants to Rwanda

Featured image: The Prime Minister of the the UK has vowed he will “stop the boats” carrying immigrants over the English Channel. Source: Reuters

The UK House of Commons recently approved a bill declaring Rwanda a safe country to carry out a plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda and have their asylum application processed there, and if the application is approved, they would have the right to stay in Rwanda as a refugee, but not be allowed to return to UK where they initially sought asylum. The first deportation flight was supposed to leave already in 2022, but it was blocked due to legal issues. Now the plan was again delayed because of the House of Lords demanded that the government needs to more clearly prove that Rwanda is a safe country.

In November 2023 the UK supreme court ruled that Rwanda is not a safe country, and the refugees would risk being returned to their country of origin. According to the court, this would break the European Convention on Human Rights, which forbids torture and inhuman treatment. Rwanda is also known to have earlier treated refugees poorly, and for example 2018 the Rwandan police opened fire on protesting refugees. Also extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances are happening in Rwanda. As an answer, the UK government introduced a new bill declaring Rwanda a safe country in the UK legislation. The UN published a report in January, in which this bill was said to be a clear violation of well-established international laws. The UK prime minister Rishi Sunak earlier stated that he will not let “any international court stop us from sending flights and putting this measure to work.”

At the same time, similar chauvinistic attacks against immigrants and calls for deporting ”illegal” immigrants are happening all over Europe. At the same time ”legal” and ”work-based” immigration is encouraged. Imperialist countries such as Germany, Austria, Italy and Denmark have expressed interest in examining the possibility to have a similar plan to the UK one. Of these countries, Denmark has made a pact in 2022 to send immigrants to Rwanda, but this has not happened due to issues regarding the international law. Recently, Germany approved a bill to make it easier to deport asylum seekers with cases which are deemed ”dubious” by the authorities. As a part of the criminalization of solidarity with Palestine it has said it will examine the possibility of deporting those who are seen as supporters or even sympathizers of Hamas if they do not have the German citizenship. In December, the French parliament approved a new immigration law, which also among others makes deportations easier, introduces administrative detention for those about to be deported, reinstates ”offense of illegal residence” and makes it possible to strip a dual citizen of the French citizenship if they are convicted of intentional homicide against a ”person of public authority”.

Large masses of people are leaving their home countries, which have been destroyed by imperialist war, exploitation and oppression, in an increasing rate with the deepening crisis of imperialism. To a point, these masses of people of the oppressed nations are ”useful” to the imperialists, who use their desperate situation to exploit them. However, they only want those who can be exploited and who pose no danger to their rule. Uncontrolled arrival of immigrants from the oppressed nations risks to escalate the contradictions in an unfavorable way for the ruling class in the imperialists countries, especially the repercussion of the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations within the imperialist countries. To hinder this development, the imperialists take measures, such as make pacts with their lackeys such as in the case of Turkey to stop the immigrants from coming to Europe, locking them in ”refugee camps” and leaving them to drown in the Mediterranean or to die crossing the Alps on foot. In addition to the concrete measure of making the travel to Europe even more dangerous for the immigrants and making their situation even more desperate, this type of plans serve splitting the working class. The imperialists talk about ”illegal” immigrants, view them as less than humans, as threatening hordes, and inflame chauvinism. They blame the crisis on the immigrants, and to pretend that they are doing something to the problems they launch an attack against them. At the same time, we see more and more cynical and outrageous violations of the bourgeois law. Even if the plan of Sunak will not succeed in reality, it will work to inflame more chauvinism and encourage wider disregard of the international laws among the bourgeoisie.

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