The British government has started notifying migrants who have arrived in the UK illegally that they will be sent to Rwanda.

A first flight is scheduled for June 14 despite the risk of appeal, the Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday.

As soon as this highly controversial plan was announced in mid-April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson – expected in the Rwandan capital Kigali at the end of June for the Commonwealth summit – had anticipated legal action from human rights groups.

"While we know there will be attempts to thwart the process and delay evictions, I will not be deterred and will remain fully committed to implementing what the British public expects," said the UK Home Secretary. Priti Patel.

Discourage clandestine crossings

She welcomed a "new step" towards the implementation of the partnership with Rwanda as part of the government's strategy to reform the "broken asylum system and break the evil business model of smugglers".

The agreement thus aims to deter clandestine crossings of the Channel, which are on the rise.

Those deported to Rwanda will be able to "rebuild their lives there in complete safety", the statement said.

London will initially finance the device to the tune of 120 million pounds (141 million euros).

The Rwandan government has clarified for its part that it will offer migrants the possibility "to settle permanently in Rwanda if they wish".

A strongly criticized plan

The deal allowing the UK to send migrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda has drawn heavy criticism from human rights groups, opposition figures in both countries and even the United Nations.

One of the associations considering an appeal responded to the British government's announcement on Tuesday by stressing that it precedes the celebrations organized for the 70 years of reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

“What a way to mark Jubilee weekend, telling victims of torture and slavery who have traveled thousands of miles to safety that they will be deported to a dictatorship,” tweeted, Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action.

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