The new government refuses to rule out the Rwanda option
The Island’s government has again declined to rule out sending asylum seekers caught trying to enter Jersey to Rwanda, despite it emerging that an adviser warned the UK government that the African state tortures and kills political opponents.
The UK pursues the controversial policy to deport people thousands of miles in response to the number of migrants crossing the Channel from France.
When asked by the JEP in June, the government would not rule out that asylum seekers who land on Island or are stopped in Jersey waters could end up on one of the flights.
The JEP was told that while Jersey has autonomy over immigration issues, it stays closely aligned with the UK and every illegal migrant is dealt with on an individual basis.
It emerged this week that one of the UK’s own advisers warned that the Rwandan government tortures and kills political opponents and questioned the tone and accuracy of a report relating to the plans.
The BBC and The Guardian, along with migrants from an aborted June flight, are asking in court for the entirety of the official’s comments on Rwanda to be made public.
The UK government has said its scheme will be more closely monitored.
Although the Island has a new government, the JEP was told earlier this week that there would be no change in relation to how Jersey processes asylum seekers who are stopped here.
A government spokesman said any potential asylum seekers would continue to be handled on a case-by-case basis.
The UK government is still pursuing the Rwanda scheme, which caretaker-Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said was necessary to break human trafficking chains.
The first planned flight to Rwanda was stopped in June after a last-minute move from the European Court of Human Rights, which asked the High Court in London to determine whether the policy was lawful.
A hearing is scheduled for next month.
Rwandan officials have insisted the country is safe and asylum seekers should not see being sent there as a ‘punishment’.
Over 20,000 have crossed the English Channel in small boats already this year, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
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