UK parliament passes Rwanda asylum law

STORY: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Rwanda Bill is set to become law after months of standoff in parliament and he promised on Monday to send asylum seekers to Rwanda within 10 to 12 weeks.

“No ifs, no buts. These flights are going to Rwanda."

The policy would mean any asylum seekers who arrive illegally in Britain will be sent to Rwanda - in a bid to deter dangerous cross-channel crossings in small boats and destroy the business model of people who smuggle them.

The first planned deportation flight in June 2022 was blocked by the European Court of Human Rights - before the UK Supreme Court last year declared the scheme unlawful.

The bill passed Monday designates Rwanda as a safe destination in a bid to overturn the ruling.

Sunak said Monday the government had booked commercial charter planes and trained staff to take migrants to Rwanda.

He hopes the a policy will boost his Conservative Party's flagging fortunes before an election later this year.

Tens of thousands of migrants have arrived in Britain in recent years by crossing the English Channel in small boats, many of whom are fleeing war and poverty from across the globe.

“Stopping the boats” has become one of the governments top priorities – but critics say the plan to ship migrants to Rwanda rather than handle asylum seekers at home is inhumane.

Many are concerned about Rwanda’s own human rights record and the risk that asylum seekers may be sent back to countries where they face grave danger.

Despite the bill's passage, Sunak may still face legal challenges to the new law.

Charities and rights groups say they would try to stop individual deportations.

And - the trade union which represents border force staff is promising to argue the new legislation is unlawful "within days" of the first asylum seekers being informed they will be sent to Rwanda.