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Rwanda ‘aware’ Of UK Decision To End Deportation Deal

Rwanda has responded to the UK Labour government’s decision to cancel the controversial asylum seeker deportation agreement, emphasising that it was a UK-initiated solution for their migration issues. The announcement follows Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s declaration that the plan, established by the previous Conservative administration, is now ‘dead and buried.’

Background of the deal

The agreement, which aimed to deter migrants from crossing the Channel to the UK by sending them to Rwanda, had faced significant legal challenges. In November of the previous year, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the deal violated international law, contributing to its eventual termination.

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Rwanda’s response

Yolande Makolo, the Rwandan government spokesperson, issued a statement acknowledging the UK’s decision to end the Migration and Economic Development Partnership Agreement. ‘Rwanda takes note of the intention of the UK Government to terminate the Migration and Economic Development Partnership Agreement, as provided for under the terms of the Treaty passed by both our Parliaments,’ the statement read.

Makolo highlighted that the partnership was initiated to address the UK’s irregular migration crisis, emphasising that it was a UK-centric problem. Despite the agreement’s termination, Rwanda reiterated its commitment to global migration solutions, ensuring the safety and dignity of refugees and migrants.

Labour government’s stance

Before the July 4 election, the Labour Party had pledged to abolish the deportation scheme. Prime Minister Starmer’s recent announcement solidifies this commitment. The previous Conservative government, led by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, had enacted legislation deeming Rwanda a safe country for migrants, despite human rights concerns, to facilitate the deportation plan.

Political and social context

Immigration has become a pivotal political issue in the UK, particularly since Brexit in 2020, which promised to ‘take back control’ of national borders. The scrapped deal underscores a significant policy shift under the Labour government, focusing on humane and lawful approaches to immigration.

Rwanda’s position

Rwanda, which positions itself as a stable and modern nation in Africa’s Great Lakes region, has expressed its ongoing commitment to addressing global migration challenges. Despite the termination of the agreement, Rwanda remains dedicated to providing opportunities and security for refugees and migrants.

Human rights concerns

While Rwanda boasts modern infrastructure and stability, human rights organisations have criticised President Paul Kagame’s administration for suppressing dissent and free speech. These concerns played a part in the legal challenges and public opposition to the deportation deal.

The cancellation of the Rwanda deportation deal by the UK’s new Labour government marks a significant policy shift, reflecting broader debates about immigration and international cooperation. As the UK seeks new solutions to its migration challenges, Rwanda continues to advocate for global approaches to refugee and migrant issues.

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