Kagame, World Cup, and £140M British Cash For Dumping Asylum-Seekers Into Rwanda

Kagame alongside Kenyan head of state William Ruto and FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the Lusail Stadium in Doha, Qatar during the 2022 World Cup Final.

By David Himbara

General Paul Kagame has been globe-trotting this month – Kagame was last spotted alongside Kenyan head of state William Ruto and FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the Lusail Stadium in Doha, Qatar during the 2022 World Cup Final. This was a return trip to Qatar for Kagame – he was initially in Qatar for the opening of the World Cup on December 8, 2022. From there, Kagame landed in Geneva, December 12, 2022. His next stop was in Washington, DC, for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, from December 13, 2022. Next, Kagame was sighted at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, for the final match between Argentina and France on December 18, 2022.

A day after Kagame was sighted at the World Cup, the decision on the pending court case involving his regime and the British government was announced. The court battle was launched in opposition to the UK government scheme to pay the Kagame regime £140 million for receiving the dumped asylum seekers from the UK. Human rights organizations had argued that the scheme was illegal, unworkable and inhumane. They cited Rwanda’s dismal human rights record, including the widely reported killings and torture of Kagame’s opponents at home and abroad. In a judgment, the application to stop the £140 million scheme was dismissed on December, 19, 2022.

Kagame should not celebrate the Court’s ruling, however. Even though the Court ruled that sending people seeking refuge in the UK to Rwanda was lawful, the matter doesn’t end here. The Court’s ruling does not mean flights will take off right away. Human rights advocates are expected to make further appeals. Let us also not forget the European court of human rights’ injunction that previously prevented immediate deportations until the legal process has been exhausted. Stay tuned.

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