The two candidates still in the race to become UK’s next prime minister, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, have expressed their support for the UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership, under which some of the migrants and asylum seekers who illegally entered the UK are to be transferred to Rwanda.
Sunak and Truss are bidding to replace Boris Johnson as both the leader of UK’s Conservative Party and Prime Minister, with the party set to announce the ultimate winner in September. Johnson resigned as Tory leader earlier this month but said he would stay on as prime minister until a new leader is picked.
As part of his 10-point plan to tackle the issue of migration and asylum seekers in the UK, Sunak says he’s committed to deliver the partnership.
“As Chancellor, I funded the Government’s Rwanda Policy because it is the right one. I will make the policy work and will do whatever it takes to implement it and pursue additional similar partnerships,” he said.
He added in a video: “Every year thousands and thousands of people come into the UK illegally. Often, we don’t know who they are, where they’re from, and why they’re here. These are not bad people. But it makes a mockery of our system and in the current chaotic free world there is simply no way for a serious country to run itself.”
Sunak also committed to “doing whatever it takes to get our partnership with Rwanda off the ground and operating at scale and pursuing other migration partnerships.”
Meanwhile, his rival, Truss, also wrote on her Twitter account: “I am determined to see our Rwanda policy through, to ensure our borders are secure and that we back our Border Force”
She noted that “The Rwanda policy is the right policy. I’m determined to see it through to full implementation, as well as exploring other countries that we can work on similar partnerships with. It’s the right thing to do.”
On April 14, Rwanda and the United Kingdom announced a major partnership under which the former would receive migrants and asylum seekers from the UK.
Kigali has since indicated that Rwanda’s interests are solely to contribute to providing a solution to the “broken global asylum system” that is being exploited by human traffickers, putting the lives of thousands at great risk.
The first flight carrying migrants and asylum seekers from the UK was supposed to set off on June 14, but was cancelled at the last minute due to legal battles in court.