British Home Secretary Priti Patel has explored the possibility of transferring incoming asylum seekers to reception centers on the islands of Ascension and Saint Helena, reveals Financial Times.
The islands in the South Atlantic belong to Britain, even though the distance to the mainland is thousands of kilometers. Ascension is home to the British Air Force base, but has a population of just under a thousand.
Saint Helena, with a population of around 4,500, is particularly known for its seclusion. The island’s first airport was not opened until four years ago. The island can also be found on the game board of the Finnish Star of Africa game, where it can be surrounded by pirates.
According to government sources in the Financial Times, Australia, which has had several overseas reception centers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea for decades, has been used as a model for the transfer idea. Patel has also met with the former Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbottin with.
Patel appears to have abandoned the asylum seeker transfer plan, at least for the time being, as it is not considered cost-effective or logistically viable. The Guardianin according to the source, the idea was initially considered “unlikely”.
Guardian according to him, the idea has been supported in particular by the Prime Minister’s Office, which has also suggested Moldova, Morocco and Papua New Guinea as possible locations for reception centers. The British opposition criticized the plans as “inhumane” and “completely impractical”.
British government sources only acknowledge that reforms to the asylum process are currently being planned.
More than 34,000 asylum seekers arrived in the UK in the first half of the year. Recently, the country’s government has paid particular attention to the increased migrant movement by sea, through the English Channel.