Inside Rwanda, UK new treaty for asylum seekers

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Rwanda and the United Kingdom have officially signed new a treaty reinforcing an already existing Migration and Economic Development Partnership (MEDP) between the two countries for governments to continue working together on refugee and asylum seekers resettlement.

UK Home Secretary, James Cleverly, and Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr. Vincent Biruta, signed the treaty on Tuesday and reiterated the commitment of the two countries to work together to address the global migration crisis.

Under the partnership, the UK will send asylum seekers to Rwanda as a way of deterring channel crossings. The two officials said the treaty addresses the issues the UK Supreme Court raised in declaring the initial arrangement unlawful. Dr. Biruta emphasised that Rwanda remains a safe place for refugees and asylum seekers.

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Dr. Biruta said that Rwanda and the UK will continue to work together on the migration and economic development partnership, which he said reflects Rwanda’s commitment to protecting refugees.

“This partnership reflects Rwanda’s commitment to protecting vulnerable people and our country’s track record in welcoming and hosting refugees and migrants from around the world. Rwanda and the UK, understand that there is a critical need to find innovative ways to address the suffering of migrants making dangerous, desperate, journeys, under the exploitation of criminal, human smugglers,” Minister Biruta said.

The treaty was signed in Kigali on Tuesday.

He pointed out that new treaty will also see the introduction of a new appeals tribunal, to be established under Rwandan law and overseen by two co-presidents, one Rwandan and one drawn from another Commonwealth country, and a panel of judges from various nationalities, who will hear appeals in the event an applicant’s asylum claim is turned down.

On his part, Home Secretary Cleverly welcomed the professionalism of the Rwandan government in dealing with, pointing out that in all their dealings, he has always found both Minister Biruta personally and the Rwanda government to be professional, thoughtful and serious partners on the world stage.

He pointed out that the signing of the treaty  will go a long way in strengthening and enhancing the MEDP, pointing out that there is no doubt Rwanda has now established a strong reputation for the humane and professional administration of refugees and migrant affairs.

“This is something understood by the UK and the multilateral community. The treaty that we signed today builds on that joint work. It takes the positive, professional attitude that you and your government display and allies it with the work that the UK is doing to ensure that we break the business model of those evil people’s smuggling gangs,”

“We want to make sure that people can live in safety and prosperity,” he added.


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