Migrants from the UK: Paul Kagame explains

Ale’The agreement with the United Kingdom to send migrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda, which has sparked controversy, is not an agreement on “trade in humans”, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has argued. “It would be wrong for people to say oh you know, Rwanda had money,” the president said during a virtual seminar with an American university, according to a video posted on Twitter by his cabinet. Thursday.

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“we’re helping”

The United Kingdom presented a plan on 14 April to send asylum seekers who arrived illegally on British soil to Rwanda, hoping to prevent illegal crossings of the Channel, which are on the rise. Under this agreement, London will initially finance the device for 120 million pounds (144 million euros). The Rwanda government has clarified that it will offer the possibility to “settle permanently in Rwanda if they so desire”.

During the presentation of the agreement, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the East African country as “one of the safest in the world, globally recognized for its record of welcoming and unifying migrants”. The project, likely to be applicable to all foreigners who have illegally entered where they come from (Iran, Syria, Eritrea, etc.), has sparked outrage and “strong opposition” from the United Nations. Is. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) criticized the deal, saying people fleeing conflict and persecution “should not be treated like commodities”.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda has been hosting refugees for “decades”, especially from neighboring countries. “We don’t trade in humans, please. That’s not the case. In fact, we’re helping,” he described the agreement as an “innovation” promoted by Rwanda.

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The country has in the past taken African migrants stranded in Libya under a 2018 agreement with the African Union and UNHCR. Regarding the reception of Libyan refugees, the President of Rwanda remarked: “These people were stranded in Libya; They were trying to enter Europe. Some (earlier) had died trying to cross the Mediterranean, others were kept in Libyan prisons, in different cities and they were really trapped,” observed the head of state. “At the time, I was au (African) Union) was the president. And when the question arose for me, I said: well, we are not a rich country, we are not a big country, but there are solutions, we can always help, discover and solve big problems, ”he said.

Last year, the country also offered asylum to Afghans fleeing the Taliban’s rise to power.

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political motivation

So far, little has been said about the motivations of Rwanda, a small country of 13 million inhabitants in the African Great Lakes region, praised for its development policy and criticized for its handling of human rights. President Paul Kagame has positioned his country as an ally of Western nations and a firefighter in the face of conflicts in Africa. Notably, he sent troops to Mozambique last year to fight a jihadist insurgency. According to Rwandan analyst and lawyer Louis Gitiniva, Rwanda intends to reaffirm its international aura here while downplaying criticism of its rights management. “President Kagame intends to use this agreement as a confidence motion in his policy on human rights,” said the head of state, who has ruled Rwanda with an iron fist since the 1994 genocide, a Wants to appear as “Prominent African Leader”. The analyst believes that Kigali “also expects diplomatic support from the United Kingdom when resolutions against Rwanda are presented and discussed before the United Nations Security Council”.

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change of speech

In January 2021, the English government called on Kigali to look into “continuing restrictions on civil and political rights and freedom of the press”. Last week, there was considerable change in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech, describing Rwanda as “one of the safest countries in the world, internationally recognized for the reception and integration of migrants”. This change in discourse suggests that Kigali hopes to influence foreign perception of its policy towards dissidents, especially those who have fled abroad.

But according to Human Rights Watch’s Central Africa director Lewis Mudge, “Rwanda has repeatedly demonstrated how little protection is given to refugees under international law”. “There is credible information that Rwandan agents have committed murders of Rwandan refugees abroad and many refugees fear that the Rwandan government has a long arm as far as Europe, Canada, Australia,” he said.

Few details have been released about the deal, which some critics in the UK say could face legal challenges that could force its architects to cancel it.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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