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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Rwanda Scheme Would Completely Erode UK’s Position in the World

HRW's Tirana Hassan says UK’s plan to deport asylum seekers is ‘cheap politics'

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UNITED KINGDOM: The new director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) has stated that the UK’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda would “completely erode” Britain’s position on the international stage.

Tirana Hassan, who will take over as executive director of HRW on Monday, said that other conservative European governments were thinking about following Britain’s lead and using African countries as offshore holding facilities for asylum seekers. This could weaken the protections for refugees that are already weak.

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Even though the UK government and Rwanda agreed about deportations almost a year ago, the plan has been put on hold by legal challenges, including those from the European Court of Human Rights. Suella Braverman, the home secretary, went to Kigali earlier this month to see housing complexes being constructed for deported asylum applicants from Britain. Her decision to bring only right-wing media with her stirred up more controversy.

To reduce refugee crossings of the English Channel, the government has also suggested a stringent new immigration bill with the catchphrase “stop the boats.”

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Australia was the first nation to use this strategy, and its former foreign minister, Alexander Downer, has counselled the current prime minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, on immigration matters.

Hassan said that the immigration policies of the Liberal Party governments of John Howard and Tony Abbott killed Australia’s hopes of taking the lead on human rights in the Indo-Pacific region.

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Hassan, 48, represents a shift in generation at the top of the organization and comes from the global south. She has been serving as HRW’s interim head since Roth departed in August of last year. The daughter of a half-Sri Lankan, half-Chinese dentist mother who was born in Malaysia and a Pakistani scholar father, she was born in Singapore. When she was three years old, her family was forced to relocate to Australia because her father, Riaz Hassan, penned a book that displeased the Singaporean government.

Hassan’s predecessor gained notoriety in January after the dean of the Harvard Kennedy School attempted to prevent Roth from accepting a fellowship there due to his prior criticisms of Israel’s human rights record. This was after Hassan’s predecessor decided to step down. 

Also Read: United Kingdom Prime Minister Liz Truss Apologizes for Any Errors

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