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New HRW Head Weighs in on the UK’s Plan to Deport Asylum Seekers to Kigali

The UK’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda would “completely erode” Britain’s standing on the world stage, the new head of Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said. Tirana Hassan, who takes over as HRW’s executive director on Monday, also said other conservative governments in Europe were considering following Britain’s lead and looking at African states as an offshore dumping ground for asylum seekers, potentially dealing further blows to established refugee protections. The government has also proposed a restrictive new immigration bill under the slogan “stop the boats” aimed at cutting down refugee crossings of the Channel. The model of intercepting refugee boats and putting asylum seekers into offshore camps was pioneered by Australia, and the country’s former foreign minister, Alexander Downer, has advised the UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, on immigration policy. Hassan said the immigration policies pursued by the Liberal party governments of John Howard and Tony Abbott torpedoed Australia’s hopes of leadership on human rights in the Indo-Pacific region.