Rwandan Government Profiteering from the Plight of African Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Recently, it became known that the Rwandan government had struck multimillion dollar deal whose details remain unknown to the Rwandan people. This deal involves Rwanda accepting to have African refugee and asylum seekers deported on its territory by the government of Israel which asked them to choose betweenindefinite detention and deportation (Haaretz, 2 April, 2015).

The president of Rwanda, in a cagy way, admitted belatedly the existence of such undertaking when asked by journalists at a press briefing. Belatedly because already the first batch of refugees arrived in Rwanda last year under very hush circumstances. Information coming from Israel government officials indicates that each refugee seeker who ‘accepts’ to be deported to Rwanda is given upkeep money ($3500), promised resettlement and a work visa.

This undertaking is fundamentally wrong on several levels and indeed, it is a latter-day human trafficking only this time, state sponsored. These refugees’ rights are grossly violated by the two states that are in complete violation of international conventions on refugees treating them as chattel.

As we speak, the world is full of Rwandan refugees running away from a brutal dictatorship headed by President Kagame. There are Rwandan refugees in all neighboring countries namely Uganda, D.R. Congo, Tanzania, Zambia and far away countries all over the world. Many Rwandese are anxious to leave their motherland to run away from a brutal police state. For this reason, Rwanda is in no position to assume a protector role of any refugee who did not seek its protection in the first place.

Since many of these refugee seekers originally came from Eritrea and Sudan, being sent to Rwanda would be akin to running away from a hot pot and instead land in direct fire. Eritrean and Sudan refugees cannot find the freedom they did not have in their home countries; they certainly cannot find their human rights they could not enjoy in their countries.

For a country to accept receiving refugees from a third country, it must be in complete conformity with international conventions and norms and the process has to be mediated by international organisations mandated to conduct such processes. All this systematic approach is absent in the Israel-Rwanda deal.

FDU-National-Movement-INKUBIRI condemns this conduct of the two states. Human beings are not bargaining chips. We call upon the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR) to get involved in this affair in order to stop and prevent any and all exploitation and violation of the refugee’s rights.

The Rwandan government is once again proving its complete disdain towards human dignity and how it does not care about the sanctity of human life be it Rwandan or foreigner and indeed how President Kagame’s regime does not respect international conventions to which Rwanda is signatory.


Commissioner for External Relations