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Rwanda’s government ready to welcome migrants from the UK

Only a few weeks remain before the first migrants to enter the UK illegally are sent to Rwanda. After two years of debate and controversy, the British Parliament has finally approved the bill allowing these asylum seekers to be sent to Rwanda. Rwanda says it is ready to welcome and integrate them into society, process their cases  and then take decisions on how to further go about. They will have the chance to stay in Rwanda for those who want to, return to their country or choose to legally ²move to Europe.

This deal has caused a stir around the world, and after a long battle between the upper and lower houses of the British Parliament, the bill allowing asylum seekers who have entered the UK illegally to be sent to Rwanda was passed on the night of Tuesday, April 23, 2024. And this is how it all started.

In 2018, if many of you may recollect, I was the chair of the African Union and during that time, many young and old africans were perishing and dying in the mediterranean trying to reach Europe through Libya. I remember being somewhere discussing with some of the leaders asking how we can address this problem. I told them that despite all the problems in our country, if these people were brought to Rwanda they’d live a better life than they were living in the prisons of Libya. I think that is how this new situation developed with the UK and others contacting us. It is like they learnt from this case and asked if they can have these people’s cases processed in Rwanda.

Paul KAGAME, president of the Republique – Rwanda

The project was announced two years ago by the British government, and it is presented as a flagship measure in a policy to fight illegal immigration. It will now come into force and both authorities say they are ready for anything linked to the sending and receiving of these migrants.

“I can confirm that we have put an airfield on stand-by, booked commercial charter flights for specific slots, and we have five hundred highly trained individuals ready to escort illegal migrants all the way to Rwanda, with three hundred more trained in the coming weeks. This is one the most complex operational endeavors that Home Affairs has carried out. But we are ready, plans are in place. And these flights will go, come what may”

Rishi SUNAK, prime minister

This isn’t the first time Rwanda has welcomed asylum seekers. Since September 2019, for example, the country has continued to welcome African refugees long stranded in Libya.

“Don’t go thinking that just because some people call this treaty a deal, a trade or some other name, that it’s going to discourage our two governments, because we know it’s something that’s done just about everywhere. Man has always migrated, but at least if migration is managed and controlled by one or two governments, I think it’s safer than letting human traffickers take control.”

Alain MUKURALINDA, Government spokespersonRwanda

After their arrival in Rwanda, asylum seekers will have the choice of settling permanently in the country, pursuing their asylum seeking process to Western countries from Rwanda, or returning to their countries of origin.


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