Rwandan president Paul Kagame Tuesday briefed diplomats accredited to Rwanda about the recent Rwanda-British government deal that seeks to resettle in Rwanda asylum seekers attempting to enter the UK.
Rwanda and the UK have come under fire from rights activists and even the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who says no sufficient safeguards and standards are in place to facilitate such a deal.
“Recently there is some discussion we entered into with one of our partners, and friend the United Kingdom; something to do with migration. I know it has caused confusion and I want to explain it,” Kagame said, speaking at a dinner in honor of members of the diplomatic corps.
“I have heard some people claim that the UK gave us money wanting to dump people here. No, we don’t do that kind of thing. We are not involved in buying and selling of people. We can’t do that because of our core values,” he added.
Kagame recalled that Rwanda in 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN Refugee Agency, and the African Union to establish an emergency transit mechanism for refugees and asylum seekers evacuated from Libya, who he said are living better lives.
That is how we arrived at the new situation for the UK to contact Rwanda about their migration problem, after learning lessons from this existing arrangement, he said.
“If you talk about how to deal with that migration problem we are happy to deal with that problem, there is nothing bad about this, there is nothing we can’t be transparent about, this is what it is,” he added.
The new deal, formally called Rwanda-UK Migration and Economic Development Partnership initiative, was inked in Rwandan capital Kigali on April 14.
It provides that migrants from the UK will be integrated into communities across Rwanda, where they will be entitled to full protection under Rwandan law, equal access to employment, and enrolment in healthcare and social care services, according to officials.
The UK is offering upfront investment of 120 million pounds to facilitate the implementation of the five-year agreement.