Rwanda To Receive First Batch Of Asylum-Seekers From The UK

Rwanda would receive about 50 asylum seekers from the UK at the end of May, a month after both countries signed a controversial immigration deal that re-routes illegal migrants from the UK to the East African country for processing.

According to Rwanda’s deputy government spokesman Alain Mukurarinda, the first batch of 50 migrants would be received in the country’s capital Kigali, on an undisclosed day.

On 14 April 2022, the UK and Rwanda signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the provision of an “asylum partnership arrangement”, that allows the UK government to send asylum seekers to Rwanda to have their applications processed. For Rwanda’s part in the scheme, the East African country would receive a net of $158m.

This move by the UK has sparked varying online discourse, with many, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) condemning the scheme as an “egregious breach of international law” and “contrary to the letter and spirit of the Refugee Convention”.

“People fleeing war, conflict and persecution deserve compassion and empathy. They should not be traded like commodities and transferred abroad for processing,” UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, said in a statement.

“UNHCR remains firmly opposed to arrangements that seek to transfer refugees and asylum-seekers to third countries in the absence of sufficient safeguards and standards. Such arrangements simply shift asylum responsibilities…” Triggs said.

UNHCR also said that the plan would increase risks and cause refugees to look for alternative routes, putting more pressure on front line states.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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