Rwanda excludes refugees from neighbouring states in UK deal

By Ange Iliza

Rwanda on Thursday appeared to stoke controversy after a authorities official mentioned the nation won’t admit refugees from neighbouring nations underneath a cope with the UK to host asylum seekers.

Whereas the UK had laid down standards for unlawful migrants denied entry into the UK to be thought of for resettlement in Rwanda, Kigali says it won’t welcome asylum seekers from nations from DR Congo, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania.

Rwanda’s Minister of International Affairs, Dr Vincent Biruta, mentioned there might be a system in place to display arriving asylum seekers and migrants from the UK for felony data and origin. These from Rwanda’s direct neighbours are usually not welcome.

Minister Biruta made the assertion at a media convention in Kigali on Thursday through the signing of a deal that can see unlawful migrants who enter the UK by the English Channel on small boats or by way of smugglers, relocated to Rwanda.

Since January, Rwanda has been working to revive relations with neighbouring nations of Uganda and Burundi by opening land borders with each nations and holding a number of diplomatic talks.

Since 2019, Uganda and Rwanda have had diplomatic stand-offs with Kigali accusing Uganda of harbouring armed teams.


The deal between Rwanda and the UK has obtained heavy criticism from a number of organisations and opposition leaders. Rwanda will obtain practically $160 million as funding from the UK.

Sources advised The EastAfrican that the primary batch of asylum seekers will arrive in Kigali this coming Could.

“We do not support this deal. How could a richer, bigger country be unable to host refugees and think they could just dump them in Rwanda because they have money. It is unacceptable,” mentioned Frank Habineza, President of the Democratic Inexperienced Celebration and member of parliament.

Through the press briefing, Minister Biruta, together with UK’s House Secretary Priti Patel, defined that the programme issues migrants who arrived within the UK from January 2022.

“This programme will be dedicated to asylum seekers who are already in the UK. For other people who want to come to Rwanda to seek asylum, or want to be refugees in this country, there are existing channels that will be used,” Dr Biruta mentioned.

The United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has strongly opposed the deal and made it clear it doesn’t help the externalisation of asylum by nations, together with measures taken to switch asylum seekers and refugees to different nations, with inadequate safeguards to guard their rights.

“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,” mentioned UNHCR’s Assistant Excessive Commissioner for Safety, Gillian Triggs, describing the preparations as shifting asylum tasks and evading worldwide obligations.

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