The inaugural flight of the controversial UK government scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was stopped at the last minute on Tuesday, after an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Apparently, the UK insisted on the need to deport these asylum seekers despite a flood of international condemnation. The UK has been under great pressure from what it claims is a mass influx of refugees in recent years, especially after Brexit, which creates problems and conflicts in terms of the policy coordination between the UK and the EU. As a result, the ECHR has to intervene. In view of the burden caused by the refugees to the UK, and the humanitarian pressure of attempting to prevent them from entering the country, the UK will inevitably adopt an approach of “off-shoring to a third country,” Wang Shuo, a professor at the School of International Relations of Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is very inconsistent in policymaking, erratic in what he says and does, and compliant to few principles. The British government under his leadership is quite utilitarian when making decisions.
With more and more internal conflicts in the Anglosphere, economic and social issues are gradually coming to the fore, with which come great changes, as populism, fragmentation and extremism are exhibited in politics. One of the major reasons Johnson’s supporters voted for him and the Johnson-promoted Brexit is their reluctance to subject the UK to EU-related constraints on refugees, resulting in Johnson’s choice of demonstrating the UK’s “autonomy” in this regard to appeal to a portion of conservative voters who are xenophobic.
But to save face, Johnson cannot directly reject the refugees, but has to come up with a “workaround,” in fact, using the so-called Rwanda asylum plan to provide a way out of directly violating the human rights.
Wang believes the UK intends to take this opportunity to break through some of the shackles imposed by Europe, such as the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore, in the long run, the binding force of both international and regional organizations can hardly stop the UK from getting rid of the refugees, despite the potential conflicts regarding this between the UK and European institutions and even possible sanctions imposed on the UK.
Prior to the UK, Australia instituted the hard-line Operation Sovereign Borders program in 2013, which populist former Australian prime minister Scott Morrison claimed were “the most successful border protection policies anywhere in the world.” Rich countries are scrambling to repatriate refugees from their own countries, which is breaking the rules set by the West itself. When the West wants to promote the international order and its so-called values under the banner of “human rights,” it also brings trouble to itself. If the tone of “political correctness” is too high while failing to do it in practice, what they do will certainly trigger international outrage, Wang said.
In essence, the West’s pressure to accept refugees stems from its interventions around the world that created these stateless people. The West is clear that it is to blame for disrupting peace and development of many countries and regions. But for geopolitical interests, countries like the UK still have to whitewash their evil deeds.
If the refugees do arrive in a third country, the UK will have dumped its issues on Rwanda, and it will not be held responsible for whether these refugees can continue to live in Rwanda or get good asylum conditions. The West cannot hide its hypocrisy as the UK, Australia, and the US are all the same when it comes to tempting others with wonderful promises that are not attainable.