A UK court allows Rwanda to host immigrants bound for Europe | Daily News Byte

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By BERNA NAMATA

Rwanda may become a processing center for some Northern and Western European countries currently under internal pressure to curb illegal immigration.

This week, a UK court recognized the UK government’s plan to resettle migrants in Rwanda, despite outrage from human rights activists who dragged the government to court, saying its migration partnership with Rwanda, signed in April this year, is illegal and violates human rights. .

Reading a summary of the judgment, Lord Justice Lewis said: “The Court concludes that it is lawful for the Government to arrange for the transfer of asylum seekers to Rwanda and to have their asylum claims decided in Rwanda rather than in the United Kingdom. “

However, he ordered the UK Home Office to reconsider the case of eight individuals who were to be deported on the first flight scheduled for June.

An appeal by individual asylum seekers, activists and migrant NGOs is expected to be filed on January 16, with the UK government saying it is “prepared to defend against any further legal challenges”.

UK opposition MPs have criticized the scheme and challenged the cost of the scheme, saying it was too expensive. The UK has already made an upfront payment of £120m ($144.8m) to Rwanda. In October 2022, London-based The Times reported that an additional £20m ($24.1m) had been paid, bringing the total cost to £140m ($168.9m).

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“There is no evidence that the policy will act as a deterrent,” Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said during a debate on the High Court decision in the House of Commons on Monday.

Cooper argued that the government was failing to crack down on criminal gangs that put lives at risk and was instead pushing “an inefficient, unethical, hugely expensive Rwandan plan that risks making trafficking worse”.

Despite opposition opposition, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the ruling ‘fully supported’ the plan, and that the host country – Rwanda – is a “safe and dynamic country with a prosperous economy” that has an “excellent record of supporting refugees and vulnerable migrants”. .”

Although the controversy clings to many questioning its motivation, Rwanda remains committed to implementing the agreement.

And the High Court’s decision can be seen as an endorsement of Rwanda’s increasingly open-door policy for refugees.

In a statement sent to The New Times, a pro-government newspaper, the government said it welcomed the decision.

“We welcome this decision and are ready to give asylum seekers and migrants safety and a chance to build a new life in Rwanda. This is a positive step in our quest to contribute to innovative, long-term solutions to the global migration crisis”

Since 1996, Rwanda has received more than 76,530 refugees from neighboring DRC, and in 2019, it signed an agreement with UNHCR to host asylum seekers evacuated from Libya. Since then more than 1,075 refugees have been resettled in Rwanda.

Most recently, in September 2021, Rwanda offered to host 250 staff and students from the School of Leadership Afghanistan, Afghanistan’s first and only girls’ boarding school.

Rwanda is expected to start processing asylum requests on behalf of Denmark after signing a memorandum on cooperation on asylum and migration in April 2021.

On 9 September, Denmark and Rwanda issued a joint statement that included outsourcing asylum procedures.

“Rwanda and Denmark are jointly exploring the establishment of a program through which spontaneous asylum seekers arriving in Denmark can be transferred to Rwanda to consider their asylum applications and protection and the option of settling in Rwanda..” the statement read in part.

It added that the agreement would fully comply with the relevant international obligations of both countries, including the protection of refugees and human rights.

Unlike the UK, Denmark has already passed a law that allows it to move refugees on arrival to partner country asylum centers to have their cases reviewed. He announced that he would open an office in Kigali.

In a separate deal with Israel in 2018, Rwanda agreed to host deported asylum seekers, although this was later revoked by then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to pressure from within his governing coalition.

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