Drop the UK-Rwanda asylum deal

The UK recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Rwanda for asylum seekers to be sent to Kigali, pending the outcome of their respective claims. As part of the Rwanda-UK Partnership for Migration and Economic Development, the initiative, according to a statement by Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta and UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, will address to the urgent humanitarian crisis by attacking its roots.

They said migrants would be entitled to full protection under Rwandan law, equal access to employment and registration for health and social protection services. The UK Home Office said that under the agreement, Rwanda “will process applications in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention and national and international human rights laws. “.

In addition, the UK will provide an initial investment of £120 million which will fund opportunities for Rwandans and migrants, including secondary school qualification, vocational and vocational training, language courses and education. Higher Education. “There is a global responsibility to prioritize the safety and well-being of migrants, and Rwanda welcomes this partnership with the UK to welcome asylum seekers and migrants and offer them a pathway legal to residence. It is about ensuring that the people are protected, respected and empowered to pursue their own ambitions and settle permanently in Rwanda if they wish,” Biruta said.

As expected, this arrangement received criticism from afar. Anglican Church leader, Bishop Justin Welby, in his Easter message, said politics was “opposite to the nature of God”. He further called the policy un-Christian, adding that it raises “serious ethical questions”. “He cannot bear the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because outsourcing our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is against nature. of God who himself took responsibility for our failure,” he said.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also condemned the program as a “flagrant violation of international law, contrary to the letter and spirit of the Refugee Convention.”

Rwanda is no stranger to this arrangement. In 2019, as part of its “open door policy”, it signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Refugee Agency and the African Union to set up an emergency transit mechanism for refugees and asylum seekers evacuated from Libya. Under this arrangement, it received a total of 824 evacuees. Additionally, between 2014 and 2017, the country received refugees from Israel under a similar arrangement.

However, we view this policy with strong skepticism, as we believe it is fraught with so many problems for refugees, Rwanda, Africa and the world. It is simply a way of encouraging countries to shirk their responsibilities to international conventions, encouraging human rights abuses and creating a vision of Africa as a continent that lack of awareness. Moreover, the policy is also inherently racist as it mainly applies to migrants from Africa and the Middle East, but not those from Europe. The open arms with which European countries welcomed migrants fleeing the war from Ukraine remain fresh in the minds of those who remember that they did not do the same for migrants fleeing the same conditions from Iraq. , Libya, Syria and Afghanistan.

Politics can work now that Paul Kagame is in charge of Rwanda, but the question is what happens when he leaves. For the average Rwandan this will have a long term effect as it could lead to the domination of the country by refugees who could take over the economy and possibly politics for years to come. The case of Uganda and the Asians comes to mind.

In sum, it is clear that the Rwandan government puts economic gains ahead of other problems. It’s sad because it can hardly be sustained. It is indeed regrettable that a promising country like Rwanda is transformed into a country that encourages the violation of international law and conventions. It should be noted that his decision to agree to this arrangement would further compromise immigrants’ rights to a fair trial. We reject this arrangement and call on both the UK and Rwanda to abandon it as it does not bode well for human rights and risks further damaging Africa’s image on the international scene.

African leaders should be more creative. They must come up with initiatives that will lift their respective countries out of poverty rather than waiting and accepting Greek gifts such as the UK offer. They need to stop looking for the easy way out of situations. We believe that if African leaders can think more about providing good governance to their people, most of the problems could be solved in the near future. Rwanda and Africa have the potential to prosper and it can happen with a little more commitment from its leaders. For now, this arrangement should not continue and we advise both countries to stop it immediately.


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