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Braverman criticized for excluding Guardian and BBC from Rwanda trip | Suella Braverman

Suella Braverman made her first trip to Rwanda as interior minister amid criticism that the Guardian, other liberal newspapers and the BBC were barred from the state-funded visit.

Ahead of Friday’s trip, Braverman said his controversial policy of deporting asylum seekers to the African country “will act as a powerful deterrent against dangerous and illegal travel.”

His predecessor Priti Patel signed a deal with Rwanda in April last year in a bid to deter small boat crossings, but the £140million deal remains embroiled in legal battles.

The charity Freedom from Torture branded it a ‘demonstration trip’ after it emerged the Guardian, BBC, Daily Mirror, Independent and i newspaper were not invited. The Home Secretary will be accompanied by journalists from organizations such as GB News, the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.

Sonya Sceats, executive director of Freedom from Torture, described the policy as a “cash for humans” program.

She said: “Braverman flew on a demonstration trip to Rwanda the same week the Court of Appeal recognized that there were serious questions that needed to be answered about the legality of the cash-for-humans program of this government.

“Following the outpouring of support for Gary Lineker and his compassionate stand on behalf of refugees, this government knows it is on the defensive and is once again stepping up cruelty to distract from its own failures. .

Index on Censorship, which works to defend freedom of expression, also criticized the exclusion of certain news agencies. Its editor, Martin Bright, said: “We are concerned to learn that journalists from organizations deemed critical of the government’s immigration policy have not been invited…Democracy depends an open and transparent relationship between the government and the media, where all journalists can scrutinize the government.

“Index on Censorship believes that access to government ministers, both domestically and on international visits, should not be treated as a reward for favorable coverage.”

During his trip, Braverman is due to meet President Paul Kagame and his counterpart Vincent Biruta to discuss the deal.

“I am traveling to Rwanda this weekend to reinforce the government’s commitment to the partnership under our plan to stop the boats and to discuss plans to operationalize our agreement shortly,” she said.

Braverman also hit back at critics of the deal, saying Rwanda could hold “several thousand” migrants – although none have yet been relocated.

“The suggestion that Rwanda can only accommodate 200 people is a completely false narrative peddled by critics who want to cancel the deal,” she said.

“Rwanda has the capacity to resettle several thousand people and can quickly find accommodation once the flights begin.”

PA Media contributed to this report

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