The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, assured, Monday April 22, that everything was “ready” to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, once the bill to this effect is passed.

“These flights will take off, whatever happens,” said Mr. Sunak during a press conference intended to present the means deployed by the government to organize these expulsions, before a crucial day in Parliament during which the text could be vote. “The first flight will leave in ten to twelve weeks,” assured Mr. Sunak, “later than we would have liked.” The government had until now shown its desire to see the evictions begin in the spring.

The British Prime Minister blamed the opposition in the upper house of Parliament, where the Conservatives do not have a majority, and which has been trying for weeks to soften the bill.

The project criticized even at the UN

Announced under Boris Johnson in 2022, and presented as a flagship measure of Mr. Sunak’s policy to combat illegal immigration, this project aims to send asylum seekers who entered the United Kingdom illegally to Rwanda. The issue is also electoral for the Conservative Party and Mr. Sunak, a few months before the next legislative elections, for which the Labor opposition is widely in the lead.

Backed by a new treaty between London and Kigali, the bill aims to respond to the conclusions of the Supreme Court which judged the initial project illegal in November 2023. It notably defines Rwanda as a safe third country.

The government has mobilized hundreds of staff, including judges, to quickly process potential appeals from illegal migrants, and released 2,200 detention places for them while waiting for their cases to be studied, Mr. Sunak said on Monday. “Charter flights” were booked to carry out these deportations, he added.

The British project is strongly criticized even at the United Nations (UN), whose High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, considered that it goes “against the fundamental principles of human rights”.