On a visiting to Rwanda on March 20th the UK’s Home Office minister Suella Braverman said any refugees deported there would have a “safe and secure life.”
She had just toured a modern housing estate in Rwanda’s capital Kigali that is being built for refugees and migrants deported from the UK some 6,500 kilometres away.
The agreement between the two countries has been in place since last year but no one has arrived yet because of legal challenges.
The UK is trying to stop thousands of migrants and refugees arriving in small boats from across the English channel.
Braverman’s right wing Conservative government has already ruled that even bona fide refugees would not be accepted into the UK if they arrived “illegally” on the boats.
Meanwhile Kigali says it will integrate any immigrants and refugees that do arrive from the UK with Rwandans, but no one knows when that might be.
“Mixing Rwandans and migrants is a good thing because it will help Rwandans to live in places, that are I would say, modern. But on the other hand, it will also allow migrants to be easily integrated into the Rwandan community, Alain Mukuralinda, the deputy spokesman for the Rwandan government said.
Rejecting criticism of Rwanda’s woeful human rights record, Braverman said it would be a “blessing” for would-be refugees to be permanently resettled there from the UK.
Those deported from the UK will be able to have a “safe and secure life”, she added, calling it a “humane” and “compassionate” approach.
The UK’s opposition Labour party has accused Braverman of indulging in “PR opportunities and photo ops”, saying it would use the 150 million euros given to Rwanda to hunt down criminal gangs that have traffic migrants and refugee across the Channel.