How Australia inspired the UK’s controversial Rwanda asylum seeker deal

Wealthy countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom are embarking on a “bottom-up race” on policies to discourage asylum seekers from what could result in the end of the asylum institution, a refugee and migration law expert warned.
The UK’s agreement to transfer asylum seekers to Rwanda, drawn in parallel with Australia’s maritime treatment system, has been widely criticized by human rights defenders.

The plan was blocked this week when the first asylum seekers to be sent from the UK to Rwanda sat down after the European Court of Human Rights intervened.

Daniel Ghezelbash, an internationally recognized student of refugee and migration law and deputy director of the Kaldor Center for International Refugee Law at UNSW, said rich countries are “competing for out-of-measure preventive measures introduced in other countries”.
“Unfortunately, what we are seeing around the world is the states that are engaged in a race below, and then they see themselves in direct competition with other states in terms of trying to make their destinations unpleasant for asylum seekers, “Dr. Ghezelbash told SBS. News.
“Thus, punitive measures are being introduced more and more, learning from each other, and these measures are becoming more severe over time.

“The final point of this race below will end in hard-won asylum institutions and those in immediate danger will have nowhere to run.”

‘Disappointing Trends’: From Sovereign Borders Operation to UK-Rwanda Agreement

The United Kingdom has vowed not to be “discouraged” from transferring asylum seekers to Rwanda despite the first flight base before the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in Rwanda next week, which includes both UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister The Australian Minister. Anthony Albanese will attend.
Mr Johnson said the deal was necessary to prevent “smuggling of the elderly” from “abusing vulnerable people and turning them over.” [English] Channels in a water cemetery “.
During the 2022 election campaign, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a gesture for the UK agreement as proof of the success of his government’s border policy, saying that “other countries are taking the lead in Australia’s successful approach”.
The Howard Coalition government first introduced the offshore process in 2001, before being injured back in 2007, then the Rudd Labor government was reintroduced in 2012, while the Abbott Coalition government established Operation Sovereign Borders in 2013.


“We established Operation Sovereign Borders and it has been one of the most successful border protection policies anywhere in the world,” Mr Morrison said.
The Department of the Interior’s Sovereign Borders operations website states: “Australia’s strict border protection policy is designed to protect Australia’s borders, combat smuggling and discourage people from attempting to travel dangerous boats across the open ocean.
“No one traveling illegally in Australia by boat will be allowed to stay in Australia.”
Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also pledged to keep Operation Sovereign Borders under his government, with Foreign Minister Penny Wong this week confirming the continuation of the offshore process on Nauru.

Like May 31st, there were 112 people on Nauru under the contract of Australia and the small island nation.


Asylum Seeker Resource Center (ASRC) Chief Prosecutor Hannah Dickinson said the UK’s adoption of Australia’s model was “part of a discouraging trend”.
“It is terrible that, despite a decade of cruelty that has led to severe damage, death, government compensation payments, third-country contracts, medical transfers, and international notoriety, the Australian model has influenced global politics,” Ms Dickinson said SBS. News.
“Adoption in the UK is part of a discouraging trend in rich countries to enter into potentially exploitative and uncompromising agreements with South Global countries, dislocating international obligations, in the absence of protection and inadequate conditions.”
Ms Dickinson said agreements on the offshore process “weaken the text and spirit of our international obligations and unnecessarily inflict real harm on individuals and families seeking security”.
“They are also morally questionable, aggravating inequality and risking damage to countries’ international positions, ”he said.

There are “many clear similarities between the UK-Rwanda agreement and Australia’s approach taken over several years in this space and our offshore processing system,” Dr Ghezelbash said.


The offshore process involves the state “outsourcing their responsibilities to provide refugee protection by forcing the transfer of asylum seekers to another state,” he said.
“In the case of Rwanda’s agreement with current Australian policy, these states also take responsibility for the resettlement and integration of refugees and asylum seekers who are protected.”
Dr Ghezelbash warned of the “dangers” of Australia’s “model” process being imitated around the world.
“Sea crossings are increasingly seen as a desirable approach to achieving the goal of reducing the flow of asylum seekers and diverting asylum seekers to other countries,” he said.

“The danger is as more countries jump on board and that was originally an exception to become the norm.”

‘Life at risk’: Human rights concerns for asylum seekers in Rwanda

Asylum seekers in the UK and around the world have raised concerns about the lack of adequate protection to prevent Rwanda from returning asylum seekers to countries where they may face damage, as well as potential dangers for certain groups. such as LGBTIQ + asylum seekers.
Noël Zihabamwe is a human rights defender and founder of the African Australian Advocacy Center.

He fled Rwanda to Australia on a humanitarian visa in 2006, and became a citizen leader among the nation’s Rwandan community.


The United Nations is investigating Mr Zihabamwe’s complaint about the disappearance of his brothers in Rwanda, saying that the Rwandan government has been abducted for refusing to act as an agent for them.
“The Rwandan government is known as a repressive regime that tolerates no activists, no opposition, or anyone else who can oppose politics,” said Zihabamwe.

Mr Zihabamwe, who is involved in helping refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, said Rwanda was not equipped to deal with asylum seekers in the United Kingdom.

Noël Zihabamwe stands with arms crossedNoël Zihabamwe stands with arms crossed

Human rights activist Noël Zihabamwe was forced to flee Rwanda in 2006. Credit: Supplied

“Rwanda does not have enough socio – economic infrastructure to support an extra crowd [of asylum seekers]”he said.

“Rwanda has already received more than 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers fleeing conflict and violence in neighboring countries, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Thus, refugees’ access to livelihood opportunities is severely restricted.”
In 2018, Rwandan police killed 12 refugees protesting the reduction in food rations, and drawing. from human rights organizations.
“Authorities, instead of listening to them, stopped at the refugee camps and started beating and killing,” Mr Zihabamwe said.

“That is why I say that Rwanda is not equipped to take care of asylum seekers.”

Ms Dickinson said the UK-Rwanda agreement “put their lives at risk”.
“Under the contract, Rwanda can send people back to the countries they have been displaced, or send them to third countries, [exposing them to the risk of] torture, death and other evil, ”he said.
“The country also has a worrying human rights record. The European Court of Human Rights, in granting an emergency application to prevent thefts, has seen evidence that asylum seekers would not have access to fair determination procedures.
Ms Dickinson said it was “important to remember that these are the people we are talking about, many of whom have escaped torture or suffered severe trauma”.
“To treat them in this transactional way, cruelty is deeply unheard of,” he said.
Writing in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, Johnston Busingye – Rwanda’s chief commissioner in London – said migrants should be treated with “security, dignity and respect”.
He added: “Disappointed, much of the discussion was either questioning our motives for joining the partnership or questioning our ability to provide a safe haven for those in need – as was the case in Friday’s legal proceedings.

“There is no doubt that we are a work in progress, every country is, but Rwanda today is unrecognizable to the country the world introduced in 1994.”

How Australia inspired the UK’s controversial Rwanda asylum seeker deal Source link How Australia inspired the UK’s controversial Rwanda asylum seeker deal

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