Senior UN officials sound alarm over Britain's migrant legislation

Two senior UN officials have issued a warning over UK legislation to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda, saying it will have a harmful impact on human rights and refugee protection.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk sounded the alarm in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The move comes after Britain's parliament passed a bill to send some migrants who entered the country to Rwanda, amid strong opposition from rights groups.

The British government is planning to carry out a migrant transfer program in exchange for financial aid to the East African country.

Grandi said in the statement, "The new legislation marks a further step away from the UK's long tradition of providing refuge to those in need, in breach of the Refugee Convention."

He called on the UK government to reconsider its plan to transfer asylum seekers, saying, "This arrangement seeks to shift responsibility for refugee protection, undermining international cooperation and setting a worrying global precedent."

Turk urged the British government to take a cautious stance.

He said, "It is critical to the protection of the human rights and dignity of refugees and migrants seeking protection that all removals from the UK are carried out after assessing their specific individual circumstances in strict compliance with international human rights and refugee law."

Three UN Special Rapporteurs also issued a statement on the bill on Monday.

The UN experts said, "airlines and aviation regulators could be complicit in violating internationally protected human rights and court orders by facilitating removals to Rwanda."

They said, "If airlines and aviation authorities give effect to State decisions that violate human rights, they must be held responsible for their conduct."

The experts said sending asylum seekers to a country that may force them to return home and be persecuted violates the right to be free from torture or other inhuman treatment.