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Rwanda deportation plan: ‘Dead and buried…,’ New UK PM Keir Starmer to scrap Rwanda scheme

In his first news conference, after his Labour Party won a landslide in the general elections, Keir Starmer said, “The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It's never been a deterrent.”

Reported by:  PTC News Desk  Edited by:  Shefali Kohli -- July 06th 2024 09:01 PM
Rwanda deportation plan: ‘Dead and buried…,’ New UK PM Keir Starmer to scrap Rwanda scheme

Rwanda deportation plan: ‘Dead and buried…,’ New UK PM Keir Starmer to scrap Rwanda scheme

Rwanda deportation plan: British Prime Minister Keir Starmer said on Saturday that he was "not prepared" to continue with the previous Conservative government's policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.  

In his first news conference on Saturday, after his Labour Party won a landslide in the general elections, Keir Starmer said, “The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It's never been a deterrent.”


The previous government led by Rishi Sunak approved the contentious law in April, declaring Rwanda a safe third country, which bypassed an earlier UK Supreme Court ruling that said the scheme was unlawful on human rights grounds.

"I'm not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don't act as deterrents," he told reporters after a cabinet meeting, calling the plan a "problem that we are inheriting".

Starmer said the Rwanda scheme was widely expected to fail.

 "Everyone has worked out, particularly the gangs that run this, that the chance of ever going to Rwanda was so slim--less than 1 per cent. The chances were of not going, not being processed, and staying here therefore in paid-for accommodation for a very, very long time," he said.

Agnes Callamard, the secretary-general of Amnesty International, urged the newly elected Labour government to fulfill its campaign pledge to abolish the Rwanda agreement. 

Authorities began detaining asylum seekers in May. Sunak, who had vowed to halt the arrival of migrants and asylum seekers on small boats from mainland Europe, was a strong advocate for the policy. 

Numerous activists and critics of Sunak's government voiced concerns about the human rights record of the East African country, warning that asylum seekers might be deported to nations where their safety would be at risk.

- With inputs from agencies

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