Media reports have revealed how people-smuggling gangs are using the Thursday, June 29, decision by the United Kingdom’s Court of Appeal which, among others, ruled that Rwanda is not a safe destination for asylum seekers and refugees.
As reported, it is the first evidence of migrants exploiting the Court of Appeal judgment.
According to one media report in the UK, Albanian people smugglers are using the court ruling in TikTok adverts to lure in prospective migrants by telling them that the appeal judgment means they will not be removed from the UK.
The Telegraph, a British daily published in London, on Sunday, July 2, reported that people smugglers are using the appeal court block on deportation flights to Rwanda to promote small boat Channel crossings on TikTok. As noted, one such advert carried images from a national TV programme reporting on the Court of Appeal judgment with the headline: “No asylum seekers to Rwanda.”
Above the image of the TV newsreader is a banner headline telling potential migrants in Albanian: “There is no return for Albanians who go to England by boat. Contact me if you want to go as well.”
As reported, an undercover reporter contacted the gang behind the TikTok account, entitled “Albanian in England,” which linked to half a dozen adverts offering Channel crossings for £3,500 per person.
They told him: “They are not returning people…there is not any law to return you. Only if you have been before in England and have been deported.”
Asked when the next crossing could be made, the gang member replied: “Every day.” After arranging a means to communicate via the messaging app WhatsApp, the reporter expressed concern about the prospect of being deported to Rwanda.
“It was a proposal from [the Prime Minister] but the court ruled against that and criticised them for their behaviour towards Albanian asylum seekers. In all my crossings I have families. No one of them has been returned. I will write to you on what’s up later.”
A day after the UK Court’s ruling, Natalie Elphicke, the Dover MP, told The Telegraph she feared there could be a surge in crossings because of the decision which is likely to delay the first flights to Rwanda until the New Year.
Dubbed “Migration and Economic Development Partnership”, the deal was initially established to allow migrants and asylum seekers who are illegally in the UK to be transferred to Rwanda.
A first of its kind in the world, the deal was also touted as part of the efforts to promote “the dignity and empowerment of migrants.”
Rwanda and the United Kingdom on April 14 inked a Migration and Economic Development Partnership, which will see migrants and asylum seekers who are illegally in the UK transferred to Rwanda. The Migration and Economic Development Partnership concerns all the migrants and asylum seekers who arrived in the UK illegally from January 1, 2022.
The High Commissioner of Rwanda, Johnston Busingye, has noted that the “fury and screaming headlines about Rwanda’s safety are groundless and based on an archaic view of Africa.”
Rwanda has, among others, been commended for stepping in to evacuate refugees from detention centres in Libya, for welcoming Afghani girls wanting to continue to pursue their education, and for hosting more than 140,000 refugees.
The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday, June 29, also said he “fundamentally disagrees” with a ruling by the Court of Appeal.
“I strongly believe the Rwandan government has provided the assurances necessary to ensure there is no real risk that asylum- seekers relocated under the Rwanda policy would be wrongly returned to third countries – something that the Lord Chief Justice agrees with,” Sunak said in a statement.