The UK Prime Minister who arrived in Rwanda on Thursday ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting has held discussions with President Paul Kagame on the migration partnership.
The two leaders met at village Urugwiro, “The two leaders held talks on existing partnerships between Rwanda and the UK including the recent Migration and Economic Development Partnership,” said the office of the President.
Johnson congratulated Kagame on the “extraordinary social and economic development in just a few decades” since the 1994 genocide.
The encounter is the latest since the planned transfer of asylum seekers from UK to Rwanda backfired. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) stopped the first flight of asylum seekers from the UK to Kigali on July 14
President Kagame and British Prime Minister Johnson praised the United Kingdom’s plan to send asylum seekers who enter the UK irregularly to Rwanda.
A statement from 10 Downing street on Thursday said, “The leaders praised the successful UK-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership, which is tackling dangerous smuggling gangs while offering people a chance to build a new life in a safe country.”
Both Rwanda and the UK have announced that they “remain committed” to this repatriation program.
Meanwhile, a UN human rights expert expressed serious concern that the two country’s asylum partnership arrangement violates international law, and risks causing irreparable harm to those seeking international protection.
“There are serious risks that the international law principle of non-refoulement will be breached by forcibly transferring asylum seekers to Rwanda,” said Siobhán Mullally, the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
“People seeking international protection, fleeing conflict and persecution, have the right to seek and enjoy asylum – a fundamental tenet of international human rights and refugee law,” she said.
There are inadequate safeguards to ensure that victims of trafficking or persons at risk of trafficking are identified, given assistance and ensured effective access to international protection. They risk further victimisation and trauma by being transferred to a third country,” added the Special Rapporteur.
“I am also concerned that there are insufficient guarantees against risks of trafficking or re-trafficking for those who may be denied asylum, or arbitrarily removed to another state from Rwanda”.