Kagame Has Struck a Deal With Denmark to Turn Rwanda into an Offshore Centre of Asylum Seekers

Demonstration held in Berlin, Germany, in 2018 in front of the Rwandan embassy. The demonstration was part of a worldwide movement arguing the Rwandan government to reject refugees deported by Israel.

By David Himbara

What happened to Denmark, a country known for championing human rights and global citizenship? Denmark is now among the rich countries stripping asylum seekers of their right to have their claims considered on their territories. That is how Denmark signed a financing deal with the regime of General Paul Kagame to turn Rwanda into an offshore centre of asylum seekers. We have seen this ugly scheme before. Israel paid the Kagame government US$5,000 per asylum seeker in a scheme that ended in a fiasco.

Denmark does not want asylum seekers on its territory or even anywhere inside the European Union. Denmark would rather keep the asylum seekers in some distant offshore centre, preferably in Africa. Denmark makes this point very clear in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the government of General Paul Kagame to turn Rwanda into an offshore centre of asylum seekers. As stated in the MoU, it is “the vision of the Danish Government that the processing of asylum applications should take place outside of the EU.”

What is in it for Kagame? This General is always looking out for ways of cashing in on even the most tragic human experience. The MoU talks of supplying technical assistance and study trips to Denmark for Rwandan officials. The MoU further states that “Denmark agrees to provide funding from its dedicated asylum and migration funds for the identified cooperation activities.”

Denmark is not the first country to call on Kagame to host deported asylum seekers. Back in 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a secret deal with the Kagame regime in which Rwanda would receive $5,000 for each asylum seeker the regime received. The whole thing was a fiasco. Once in Rwanda, the asylum seekers had no means to make a livelihood. Most of the asylum seekers ended up sneaking into Uganda and other neighbouring countries.

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