British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in front of his residence at 10 Downing Street | Photo: EPA/Tolga Akmen
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in front of his residence at 10 Downing Street | Photo: EPA/Tolga Akmen

British PM Rishi Sunak has announced an agreement with Albania to fight irregular migration to the United Kingdom, pledging to expel 'thousands' of Albanians. Human rights organizations have criticized the deal.

British conservative Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, on Tuesday (December 13) announced in the House of Commons an agreement with Albania aimed at reducing irregular immigration to the United Kingdom.

Sunak said that the accord would provide for a close collaboration between the two countries with the objective of halting migrant landings on British coasts. He also said it would enable a faster rejection of the "majority" of asylum requests presented by Albanian migrants and a subsequent quick deportation.

The PM also said that British Border Force officials would be stationed at the airport of Tirana for the first time, as part of efforts to fight organized crime connected to immigration.

Read more: UK immigration nearly triples despite Brexit promises

London heading towards the expulsion of 'thousands' of Albanians

The agreement between the UK and Albania is part of a vast package of anti-Channel-migration measures presented by Sunak. This follows a record number of landings, with over 40,000 migrants reaching the United Kingdom this year.

Roughly one-third of migrants who reach England by boat after crossing the Channel in 2023 were Albanians -- nearly 13,000 people so far, according to Sunak.

The British Prime Minister said the cabinet will be "fair but firm" and that over the coming months authorities would expel "thousands" of Albanians.

Other measures planned by the PM also include a new permanent small boats operational command for tackling irregular landings and an increase in anti-immigration operations across Britain.

There are also plans to select new facilities to host asylum seekers after a recent controversy surrounding overcrowding at migrant centers in southern England. More staff will reportedly also be devoted to process asylum applications to reduce the current backlog.

Read more: Almost 40 Albanian child migrants missing from UK care

NGOs against agreement with Albania, asylum policy

Sunak's plans to increase anti-migration measures and deportations have been strongly criticized by human rights organizations, which have accused the PM of treating asylum seekers like criminals.

Sunak "did nothing to expand safe pathways" so people have no choice but to undertake dangerous journeys to then be treated "like criminals once they arrive in the United Kingdom", said Enver Solomon, the chief executive of the Refugee Council.

Sile Reynolds of the association Freedom from Torture critized the Albania deal, saying that quick expulsions exclusively based on nationality or mode of arrival are a "dangerous political solution" that risks violating "international obligations to protect refugees."


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