UNHCR / GRANDI UK-RWANDA ASYLUM PLAN

13-Jun-2022 00:06:30
Commenting on the UK-Rwanda asylum plan at a press encounter, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi told reporters, "This is all wrong. This deal. For so many different reasons." UNCHR
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STORY: UNHCR / GRANDI UK-RWANDA ASYLUM PLAN
TRT: 6:30
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 13 JUNE 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
RECENT – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1.Wide shot, exterior, United Nations Headquarters

13 JUNE 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2.SOUNDBITE (English) SOUNDBITE (English) Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
“I think we've been so clear over the last few weeks that we believe that. This is all wrong. This is all wrong. This deal. For so many different reasons. And I can enumerate a few. First of all. You know, it is the foundation of the right to asylum that people that are on a country's territory, especially a country that is a signatory to the convention and has the institutions to deal with that, you know, to export that responsibility to another country runs contrary to any notion of responsibility, sharing of international responsibility and so forth. And if it was the other way round, maybe we could discuss. But here we're talking about a country with structures and resources that is exporting its responsibility to another country, Rwanda, that. Yes. And I think here I want maybe to have a slightly different angle on Rwanda. Rwanda is a country that actually has been quite good to refugees, has taken in tens of thousands of Congolese. I've visited many times of Burundians and has dealt quite efficiently with these people. But what is now being asked of Rwanda, which is basically to conduct a refugee status determination in lieu of the UK, is a completely different ball game. Rwanda does not have the structures to do that particular work. So, you know, surely I spoke to the Rwandan foreign minister when he came with Priti Patel to see me a few weeks ago and he said, help us, of course we will help. We help every country set up those structures. This is our core work, but it will take a long time. These are not things that you improvise. And Rwanda hasn't had any need for that so far because the type of hospitality that it provides is a group, you know, is is what we call prima thatch. Everybody is recognized as a refugee. There is no need to do the process. And then when people can go back as the Burundians right now, they're going back. So it's a different ball game that is being superimposed on on what Rwanda has. So that is also, in my opinion, wrong. The UK says, you know, we do this to save people from dangerous journeys. Let me talk about that a little bit. I mean, saving people from dangerous journeys is great, is absolutely great. But is that the right way to do it? Is that the right? Is that the real motivation for this deal to happen? I don't think so. I think it's it's it's I don't know what it is, but I think that if really the UK and other countries wanted these dangerous journeys to stop, then there are other ways to do it. We know very well, and I'm not naive or ignorant, that dialog between the UK and France, for example, because these people largely come across the channel and, and also other countries on those shores, the it has been difficult and complicated by many other factors and yet it seems to me that that's the type of dialog that needs to be because France has the structures to it to conduct a refugee status determination. But obviously there are many complex the family reunification issue. All of this needs to be looked at bilaterally between the UK and respective European countries. We have made ourselves available many times to provide advice, but that's the way to go. Is it simple? Of course it's not simple. It may not in my feeling sorry for the people that are embarking on dangerous journey. So of course I do more than anybody, believe me. And do I feel revulsion for those that are profiting from this? Of course I do. They are criminals. They should be pursued, tried and jailed these people because they're committing grave crimes. But from this situation, to say now we don't take people anymore, go back to Rwanda is is not right. And finally and most importantly, and that was my first point to Priti Patel when she came here. This makes my work, our work very difficult. There are countries taking in millions of refugees. I'm not talking about the Ukrainians. I'm talking about countries in Africa. You know, I spoke to the president of Costa Rica the other day, 150,000 Nicaraguans. I you know, I, I was in Cameroon not long ago. They host hundreds of thousands of people from the Central African Republic. And more may come. And what am I going to tell them if they say, you know, a rich country like the UK is sending them abroad, I'll do the same. I'll close my border. I say, you know, I want to save them from a dangerous journey and they can go to another country. The precedent that this creates is catastrophic for a concept that needs to be shared like. Asylum. So really, you know, of course, as you all know, you've read private in the media, including imagine on your outlet that we provided legal opinions. The court has now endorsed this movement. We will continue. I think today there's some more legal debate. It's a very complex issue. We will continue respectfully to put forward our legal opinion. It is our job. We're the custodians of the principles in the in the convention, and we will continue to do that. And like I said to the secretary, the home secretary and to the foreign minister of Rwanda, you know, we are at your disposal. Ours is not you know, we're not condemning. And no, we are here ready to come up with solution. We all agree that mixed movements such as those that we witness across the channel are very difficult to handle. I'm not for a moment saying that it's easy, but there are other ways to do it that are more rights than this one. And I underline the word right."

RECENT – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

3.Wide shot, exterior, United Nations Headquarters
STORYLINE
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi commented on the UK-Rwanda asylum plan at a press encounter.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva today (13 Jun), Grandi said, “I think we've been so clear over the last few weeks that we believe that. This is all wrong. This is all wrong. This deal. For so many different reasons.”

He continued, “First of all. You know, it is the foundation of the right to asylum that people that are on a country's territory, especially a country that is a signatory to the convention and has the institutions to deal with that, you know, to export that responsibility to another country runs contrary to any notion of responsibility, sharing of international responsibility and so forth.”

Grandi added that “if it was the other way round, maybe we could discuss. But here we're talking about a country with structures and resources that is exporting its responsibility to another country, Rwanda, that. Yes. And I think here I want maybe to have a slightly different angle on Rwanda. Rwanda is a country that actually has been quite good to refugees, has taken in tens of thousands of Congolese.”

The High Commissioner continued, “I've visited many times of Burundians and has dealt quite efficiently with these people. But what is now being asked of Rwanda, which is basically to conduct a refugee status determination in lieu of the UK, is a completely different ball game. Rwanda does not have the structures to do that particular work. So, you know, surely I spoke to the Rwandan foreign minister when he came with Priti Patel to see me a few weeks ago and he said, help us, of course we will help. We help every country set up those structures. This is our core work, but it will take a long time. These are not things that you improvise. And Rwanda hasn't had any need for that so far because the type of hospitality that it provides is a group, you know, is what we call prima thatch. Everybody is recognized as a refugee. There is no need to do the process. And then when people can go back as the Burundians right now, they're going back. So it's a different ball game that is being superimposed on what Rwanda has. So that is also, in my opinion, wrong.”

Grandi also said, “The UK says, you know, we do this to save people from dangerous journeys. Let me talk about that a little bit. I mean, saving people from dangerous journeys is great, is absolutely great. But is that the right way to do it? Is that the right? Is that the real motivation for this deal to happen? I don't think so. I don't know what it is, but I think that if really the UK and other countries wanted these dangerous journeys to stop, then there are other ways to do it.”

The High Commissioner continued, “we know very well, and I'm not naive or ignorant, that dialog between the UK and France, for example, because these people largely come across the channel and, and also other countries on those shores, the it has been difficult and complicated by many other factors and yet it seems to me that that's the type of dialog that needs to be because France has the structures to it to conduct a refugee status determination. But obviously there are many complex the family reunification issue. All of this needs to be looked at bilaterally between the UK and respective European countries.”

Grandi added, “we have made ourselves available many times to provide advice, but that's the way to go. Is it simple? Of course it's not simple. It may not in my feeling sorry for the people that are embarking on dangerous journey. So of course I do more than anybody, believe me. And do I feel revulsion for those that are profiting from this? Of course I do. They are criminals. They should be pursued, tried and jailed these people because they're committing grave crimes. But from this situation, to say now we don't take people anymore, go back to Rwanda is not right.”

The High Commissioner added, “and finally and most importantly, and that was my first point to Priti Patel when she came here. This makes my work, our work very difficult. There are countries taking in millions of refugees. I'm not talking about the Ukrainians. I'm talking about countries in Africa. You know, I spoke to the president of Costa Rica the other day, 150,000 Nicaraguans. I you know, I, I was in Cameroon not long ago. They host hundreds of thousands of people from the Central African Republic. And more may come. And what am I going to tell them if they say, you know, a rich country like the UK is sending them abroad, I'll do the same. I'll close my border. I say, you know, I want to save them from a dangerous journey and they can go to another country. The precedent that this creates is catastrophic for a concept that needs to be shared like. Asylum. So really, you know, of course, as you all know, you've read private in the media, including imagine on your outlet that we provided legal opinions. The court has now endorsed this movement. We will continue. I think today there's some more legal debate. It's a very complex issue.”

Grandi also said, “we will continue respectfully to put forward our legal opinion. It is our job. We're the custodians of the principles in the in the convention, and we will continue to do that. And like I said to the secretary, the home secretary and to the foreign minister of Rwanda, you know, we are at your disposal. Ours is not you know, we're not condemning. And no, we are here ready to come up with solution. We all agree that mixed movements such as those that we witness across the channel are very difficult to handle. I'm not for a moment saying that it's easy, but there are other ways to do it that are more rights than this one. And I underline the word right."
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