Rwanda Migrant Plan Lawful, UK High Court Rules

Olivier Mugwiza / New Times
Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Vincent Biruta and the United Kingdom’s Home Secretary Priti Patel address the media after signing the five-year deal on relocation of migrants and asylum seekers in Kigali (file photo).

The United Kingdom’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is lawful, Britain’s High Court has ruled. Lord Justice Lewis said the policy, introduced under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was “consistent with the refugee convention”. However, he said the home secretary should look at people’s “particular circumstances” before sending them to Rwanda.

According to New Times, Rwanda and the UK inked the “Migration and Economic Development Partnership” back in April 2022 to allow migrants and asylum seekers who are illegally in the UK to be transferred to Rwanda.

Those who will benefit from the programme will have the option of applying for asylum locally and be facilitated to resettle in Rwanda or to be facilitated to return to their home country, having received support through the programme.

He urged that the first eight people who were due to be sent to Rwanda had not had their circumstances “properly considered” by the former UK home secretary Priti Patel, and as a result, their cases will be referred back to the current home secretary, Suella Braverman, “for her to consider afresh”.

Rwanda and the UK inked the “Migration and Economic Development Partnership” back in April this year, to allow migrants and asylum seekers who are illegally in the UK to be transferred to Rwanda.

A first of its kind in the world, the deal seeks to promote “the dignity and empowerment of migrants”, according to the officials from both countries.

The Migration and Economic Development Partnership concerns all the migrants and asylum seekers who arrived in the UK illegally from January 1, 2022.

Those who will benefit from the programme will have the option of applying for asylum locally and be facilitated to resettle in Rwanda or to be facilitated to return to their home country, having received support through the programme.

The UK will fund the programme, initially releasing an upfront investment of £120 million, which will fund invaluable opportunities for the migrants and Rwandans as well.

This includes “secondary qualifications, vocational and skills training, language lessons, and higher education.” The UK will also support in terms of accommodation prior to local integration and resettlement.

According to the deal, they will be entitled to full protection under Rwandan law, equal access to employment, and enrollment in healthcare and social care services.

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