The Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has announced that scores of migrants could be transported from the United Kingdom to Rwanda each year as part of a new agreement between the two countries.
Every day, thousands attempt to cross the English Channel from France to reach the United Kingdom. Many people would be warned upon entry that they would be expelled to East Africa under new restrictions introduced last month. Flights for two groups of refugees have already been arranged.
The agreement reached by the UK and Rwandan governments calls for migrants arriving in the UK without the requisite paperwork to stay to be returned to the East African country.
According to the UK government, it will fund Rwanda’s economic development with £120 million ($150 million) and will assist “asylum operations, lodging, and integration costs comparable to those incurred in the UK.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated when the idea was announced that tens of thousands of people might be flown into the country over the next few years.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has revised those calculations, claiming that the number of migrants extradited to Rwanda is likely to be in the hundreds. Yet, the Home Office claims that there is no limit.
Over 28 000 individuals have arrived in the UK in the last year after traversing the English Channel in small boats, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. Every day, more and more individuals arrive.
Filippo Granda, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, highlighted his fears on Twitter, stressing that, “shifting asylum responsibilities is not the solution and that the United Nations Human Rights Council will continue proposing concrete solutions that respect international law.”
A government official said Rwanda anticipates the first batch of 50 asylum seekers from the United Kingdom to arrive by the end of May, according to a government official.
The British government announced its intention to transfer asylum seekers to the East African country in April, but indicated earlier this month that attorneys would file petitions to prevent their removal. “According to the information we have, the first batch of migrants will arrive by the end of the month,” Rwanda’s deputy government spokesman Alain Mukurarinda said, “However, the British government knows how many will come and when they will come.”
The “asylum partnership arrangement” negotiated by the UK and Rwandan governments specifies that it will be in place for five years and would be amended during the fourth year, while human rights organisations have threatened to bring a legal challenge in the UK to block its execution.
Both nations describe the arrangement as a “migration and economic development collaboration.”
Rwanda’s government has a repressive image in human rights forums and has been accused of dispatching hit squads to kill dissenters in exile and demanding allegiance from Rwandans living abroad. Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, has defended his government’s decision to transfer asylum seekers to the East African country. He publically announced that Rwanda has “completely transformed over the last few decades; it’s a very, very different country from what it was.”
As per the deal, Rwanda will review the migrants’ asylum requests”settle or remove” them in line with Rwandan law, the Refugee Convention, and international law. A similar agreement is being negotiated between Denmark and Rwanda. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, is in charge of a different migration pact that saw hundreds of asylum seekers transported from Libya to Rwanda. They are staying at Gashora, a camp 60 kilometers south of the capital. Since 2019, about 1,000 people, the majority of whom are from the Horn of Africa, have been relocated there. 626 people have been resettled in third countries, notably Canada, Sweden, Norway, France, and Belgium, according to officials.
Human Rights Watch has accused the UK government of looking the other way in order to justify a “cruel” asylum policy.
Its Central Africa director, Lewis Mudge, slammed the UK’s safety assessment for Rwanda, calling it “cherry-picking facts, or disregarding them entirely, to reinforce a forgone conclusion.” Mudge claimed that during demonstrations by migrants from the bordering Democratic Republic of Congo over food rations in February and March 2018, Rwandan police used disproportionate force, killing 12 people and detaining 60.
The Rwandan government dismissed the claims, accusing Human Rights Watch of a history of publicizing false claims and fabrications.
The deal on asylum seekers between the United Kingdom and Rwanda Great news for hotels in Kigali. Ms. Uwamungu claims that the company is still recovering from the long-term disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, the immigration agreement is a welcome respite. “Oh, it will definitely help our business,” she added. However, the accord is not universally welcomed in Rwanda.
According to opposition leader and former political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Rwanda’s government should endeavor to address the political and social issues that force Rwandans to seek refuge abroad.