Britain’s Home Secretary Suella Braverman has defended, from Kigali, the plan to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK illegally to Rwanda, calling it “humanitarian” and “compassionate”.

The Conservatives consider tackling irregular immigration to be their priority, which was one of the key Brexit promises. But the number of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats is increasing: around 45,000 people have already reached England’s shores since the beginning of the year, compared to 28,526 in 2021.

Believing it would discourage would-be immigrants, the government struck a deal with Rwanda to send them to that country.

“I sincerely believe that this collaboration between two allies and friends, the United Kingdom and Rwanda, will pave the way to finding a humanitarian and compassionate solution,” Braverman told reporters, flanked by Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta. Braverman argued that there is a “global migration crisis”.

This plan “will not only help dismantle criminal human trafficking networks but also save lives,” assured Biruta.

In December, the High Court in London gave the green light to this controversial plan, which Rishi Sunak’s government wants to implement as quickly as possible. But a month later the British judiciary accepted to consider an appeal against this agreement.

The first flight to carry migrants to Rwanda, last June, was canceled following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that called for an in-depth review of the policy.

Rwanda, ruled with an iron fist by Paul Kagame since the end of the 1994 genocide in which the UN says 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Houthis were killed, is often accused by non-governmental organizations of suppressing freedom of expression, government critics and of opposition politicians.

Earlier today, many thousands of people demonstrated in various British cities (London, Glasgow, Cardiff, etc.) against the government’s immigration policy. Some wore badges with the slogan “Safe passage, not Rwanda”.

Many British media outlets such as the Guardian newspaper and the BBC were not invited to cover the Home Secretary’s visit to Rwanda.